Pandemic reflection: What makes a human life valuable?

By April 14, 2020
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USA (MNN) — A global pandemic without enough life-support equipment is the type of scenario you’d expect to see in an ethics debate. But when the hypothetical becomes reality, first responders are expected to make life-or-death decisions.

In the current COVID-19 crisis, each hospital is approaching the situation differently. Some say it’s first-come, first-served when it comes to life-sustaining ventilators. Others are directing the most resources towards patients who have the best chance of survival. Still others are taking additional factors into account such as how many children a patient has or the essential nature of a patient’s occupation.

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(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Borba via Unsplash)

Such decisions are striking different moral chords, and no one envies the agonizing situations these doctors and other frontline workers never wanted to face.

But it is also making society as a whole examine the broader question: What determines the worth and value of a human life?

Eric Verstraete, president and CEO of Life Matters Worldwide has a few thoughts: “At the end of the day, life comes from God, life starts at conception, and life is valued all the way until natural death. That’s what we believe.

“Whether we’re old or we’re young, we all are made completely in the image of God. That’s where we gain our value — not from our skills or from our abilities. Are those skills and abilities that people have, are they coveted at different times in our history and different times in our world? Absolutely. But that does not make someone more or less valuable.”

In the midst of a pandemic, what does it mean for believers to be the Church and affirm the value of life at this time?

“I saw one meme the other day that says, ‘The churches aren’t empty. The Church has just been deployed,’” Verstraete says. “I loved that statement because, yes, we can’t be meeting together but I think…true intentionality works within the Church to be able to build those relationships so that people don’t have to live in fear.”

Ultimately, this is a rare opportunity for the Church to reach out and show people their value in Christ.

“We can be reaching out to the people…who we know are the more vulnerable people. If someone needs them to go and get some groceries for them and just leave it on their front doorstep so that they can have what they need, that’s important; reaching out through video chats or even just cards or phone calls.”

Verstraete knows from experience how important it is at this time to be intentional with relationships. “My mom is in a senior living facility that’s basically on lockdown and I know that we try to video call with her a couple of times a week if we can. She loves that. So I think it’s trying to stay as connected as we possibly can to show people how important they are in our lives.

“I think this intentionality that we’re forced to have right now will make the congregational gatherings…much sweeter because of the roots that are being developed from this forced intentionality that we are having right now as the Body of Christ.”

Please pray for people who are solitary shut-ins to still feel connected and loved. Ask the Lord to be near families and friends who have a loved one in the hospital. Pray for people to turn to Jesus in this crisis.

Verstraete also asks, “Pray for those who are on the front lines. We pray for the doctors and the nurses who are on the front lines right now because this is an army that’s getting tired right now. So we can be praying for them.”

Click here to learn more about Life Matters Worldwide.



Header photo courtesy of Marcelo Leal via Unsplash.

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