Thousands of students walked out of schools across Kentucky and around the United States on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. Some of the students walked out to promote stricter laws related to guns, others want increased security in schools, while others are calling for improved help for those suffering from mental illness. As the protests are being analyzed through many lenses, various conclusions are being drawn.
There are a few things, though, that are certain. When we look deeply we see a few basic principles rooted in the human heart.
The first is that we are wired to value human life. If students didn’t value human life, many of them wouldn’t have walked out. If teachers and administrators didn’t value human life, they wouldn’t have allowed the students to walk out. Deeply woven into us is the truth shared by Israel’s ancient king David. He wrote that people are fearfully and wonderfully made and we know that full well. It was true thousands of years ago and the students that exited their classrooms proved it’s true today. Human beings and the life they possess is valuable.
Affirming the value of a human life leads us to a second principle. Human beings are wired to protect human life. Knowing something is valuable and protecting it are two different things. How many of us have lost something valuable because we were careless with it? Though we were sad we lost it, we failed to take the appropriate action to protect it. Knowing human life is valuable should move us to protect it.
When I was a kid, my Mom would put her arm across me when we made a hard stop in the car. She was trying to protect my life in case there was an accident. No one had to teach her to do that. She didn’t read it in a parenting book or go to a parenting class to learn it. It was a natural instinct. That’s because she, like all other human beings, are made in the image of God. One of the ways we reflect the image of God is by protecting human life.
Protecting human life requires action. This leads us to a third principle that is stamped in the human heart. We should take measures to prevent evil. The prophetic books of the Old Testament are filled with God’s judgment on His people because they’ve turned away from Him. One of the evidences God provides for their evil is how they are using people rather than protecting them. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, God cites specific examples from their common and every day practices in government and business. So often we try to separate social issues from spiritual issues, but God does just the opposite.
The students taught us an important lesson as they walked out of the classroom. We must protect human life because it is valuable. Let’s encourage leaders in our schools, local governments, state government and federal government to act to protect life and prevent evil. In the meantime, though, let’s secure this fragile principle by caring for those in our own homes, schools and communities.