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Contents of Moral Issues:




 by: Joe R. Price 

Few topics cause such polarization in society today as abortion. Politicians and judges, doctors and nurses, fathers and mothers: these and many more are effected by it. Most of all, the unborn child is affected. Over one million innocent lives are put to death each year in our country. It is a national shame. Our society has joined hands with Pharaoh's edict to drown the newborn Hebrew males and with Herod as he slaughtered the male children of Bethlehem (Exo. 1:22; Matt. 1:16-19).

God's word is clear that the taking of innocent life is murder and will not go punished (Gen. 9:5-6; Exo. 20:13; 21:22-25; Rom.13:9; 1 Jn. 3:15). It matters not the environment in which that human life exists, whether outside or inside its mother's womb. Whether the extinguished life is young, or whether it is too old to now live as independently as before. Euthanasia (mercy-killing) is a companion evil to abortion.

Pro-choice most often, in effect, means "pro-self." Abortion is self-serving. It serves neither humanity nor the unborn child! One can only wonder over the losses to humanity abortion has caused. The following news article reminds us that our limited vision of how we think things ought to be very often blinds us to the way things can and should be. Ponder it closely as an illustration of the senselessness and selfishness of abortion as a quick fix. Think of such things as devotion, sacrifice, and missed opportunities. Meditate on the value you place upon life itself. Then thank God for His blessings, one of which may be a trial received to persuade us to turn to Him and His grace (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

"Disabled Son Gives Meaning to Writer's Life and Livelihood"
By Teresa Watanabe

TOKYO - It should have been a crowning moment in the life of Kenzaburo Oe, Japan's brilliant, brooding novelist who won last year's Nobel Prize in literature: June 13, 1963, the day his first son was born. Except that the baby did not look like a son. Or even a human. "A monster." A two-headed monster with half his brains spilling out, Oe though as he took his first look at the baby with the red, pinched face, mouth agape in a soundless scream, the tiny head swaddled in bloodied bandages. Oe's reaction was expressed through Bird, the hero of his celebrated 1969 novel A Personal Matter. The book mirrors his life - in particular, the hellish week when he faced the choice between death and life for his son, freedom or bondage for himself: "Like Apollinaire, my son was wounded on the dark and lonely battlefield that I have never seen, and he has arrived with his head in bandages. I'll have to bury him like a soldier who died at war."

But the boy did not die. "No longer would the sweet, easy tears of mourning melt it away as if it were a simple jelly. Swaddled in skin as red as shrimp which gleamed with the luster of scar tissue, the baby was beginning ferociously to live."

A New Chapter in Life: The baby still was alive when Oe returned from a writing assignment in Hiroshima, where the bravery of the atomic bomb survivors filled him with shame about his own attitudes. When the agonized victims had every reason to commit suicide but did not, when the doctors had every reason to give up but never faltered in trying to heal their patients, how could he deny the tiny life struggling to survive, his own son?

Oe chose life - an operation to cut away the protruding brain mass and cover the hole in the skull with a plastic plate. He named his son Hikari: light.

Hikari now is 31. He is epileptic and knock-kneed. He is nearsighted and cross-eyed. He understands only simple conversations.

But from the depths of a damaged brain, he hears the melodies of an inner music. He has learned to transfer those chords to paper. Hikari has become a composer of classical music.

In the past three years, he has released two compact discs - short, simple compositions for flute, piano and guitar. Even before his father won the Nobel Prize, both CD's turned gold.

Hikari's success marks a new passage for father and son. For three decades, Oe has served as Hikari's alter ego, expressing through his works what his son could not articulate for himself. The mission consumed him, changed his literature and, some say, drew his focus away from the social issues that created his original celebrity as the voice of Japan's disenchanted postwar generation.

Now, at 60, Oe says that mission is over.

"Hikari has learned to communicate directly with society himself," says Oe, with a satisfied smile.

Born Again: When his son was born, Oe felt it personified his life's dead end. But as he anguished in a Dante's hell of indecision about what to do, he was forced into an inescapable showdown with himself and his fears.

"What was he trying to protect from that monster of a baby that he must run so hard and so shamelessly? What was it in himself he was so frantic to defend? The answer was horrifying nothing! Zero!"

Admitting his emptiness, Oe chose to fill himself with the lifelong responsibility to cherish and nurture a brain-damaged son. His choice replenished him, giving him new power and creative direction and even a sort of spiritual meaning.

"I felt I was reborn," Oe said. "My creed became: 'If we can live through our difficulties, we can find a new dimension in life.' Without this accident, my life would have been doomed as a decadent writer who lived desperately and died early. I would have stopped writing and possibly committed suicide."

Oe thought he was saving Hikari that summer day when he decided on the operation. But in fact, he says, Hikari saved him.

Abortion, suicide and euthanasia are not the answers to life's problems. Paul could say that by God's grace, "when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10). And again, "I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). Jesus forgives sin and sustains us in trials. We can cast all our anxieties upon Him because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). "Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."

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 by: Joe R. Price 

Jesus teaches us many lessons about mastering our hearts. The ability to rein in our emotions and direct them into positive channels is no small task. It takes a lifetime of diligent and persistent effort to master self (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

One area which immediately displays our success or failure in self-control is the use of the tongue. From one point of view it can be said that no one can tame the tongue (James 3:8). It is restless, always susceptible to an urge of misuse. And so, we are taught that the capacity to bridle the tongue evinces one's ability to control his whole body (James 3:2).

We can all benefit from the proper use of our tongues. Jesus said, "the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man" Matthew 15:18). Our speech makes us known to those who hear us (cf. Matthew 26:73). And, we need to be reminded from time to time that God hears every word we speak. He will therefore bring every word into judgment (Matthew 12:36-37). It behooves us to speak good words.

Since the misuse of the tongue demonstrates the misuse of the heart, the place to begin when correctly evil speech should be clear. Here are some sins of the tongue. As we consider our tongues in view of these sins, please think of what they say about the heart. In this way we can better correct the problems of evil speech.

1. Profanity - Ephesians 4:29; 5:4. Such language indicates a heart that is influenced by the flesh and base desires. It doesn't take much brains to cuss, just a lack of self-control. Instead, the Christian is commanded to speak words which provide a lasting good to the hearer - words which edify and give grace (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6).

2. Lies - Ephesians 4:25. Truth is a commodity which is becoming quite rare these days. Some people will say almost anything if they see an advantage for themselves. Lies consume the one who speaks them and can destroy those against whom they are spoken. Truth must be in our hearts. Wouldn't you rather be defined as a truthful person than a liar?

3. Unkept vows (promises) - Ecclesiastes 7:4-5. Jesus said to let our "speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one" Matthew 5:37). Our word should be our bond, and when we give it, we must not defer to keep it. A man who will not keep his word is not trustworthy. He cannot be depended upon. Let your speech show the dependability of your heart.

4. Idle words - Matthew 12:36. A three year old can be excused for talking to hear herself chatter, but some adults are the same way. Words which are worthless and provide no benefit are to be avoided. Surely this includes much of the slang and euphemistic language in society. Words which push to the brink of vulgarity substitute for the "offensive" term, and we are convinced we have said nothing wrong. But such words show a heart that is unconcerned with purity.

5. All evil speaking - Ephesians 4:31-32. Slanderous comments, angry outbursts, bitter condemnations, malicious innuendoes - all these and more fall under this category of evil. The mouth that conveys such things reveals a heart which is immersed in self vindication at the expense of others. It is a heart devoid of kindness, tenderness and forgiveness. What a fearful thing to face God with such a heart (Hebrews 10:31)!

To the wise counsel "keep your heart with all diligence" (Proverbs 4:23) might be added, "keep you tongue with all diligence!" As Solomon said, "He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life; But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction" (Proverbs 13:3). Our goal must be sound speech which is appropriate for the occasion (Titus 2:8; Colossians 4:6). Sometimes that will mean encouragement, while at other times a rebuke will be in order (2 Timothy 4:2). But by always speaking truth in love, the body of Christ will be edified and all who hear us will hear the good things of our heart (Ephesians 4:15).

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Last modified: 08/03/2017.

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