Perfect Love Loves the Imperfect

“And [they] shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood” Psalm 106:38

I occasionally show my students movies to help them practice their English. I carefully select movies that I hope will not only help improve their verbal communication skills, but which could also have an added educational value, as well as comprehensible language. Needless to say, my criteria for a movie differs greatly from that of my students, who prefer movies with “good looking guys/girls and lots of action”.
I found a movie which, while it did not captivate my older students, it certainly captivated the younger ones, who are in Elementary and early Junior High years.

The movie was “A Dolphin’s Tale”, which depicts the true story of a female dolphin whose tail had to be amputated, due to its blood circulation being cut off by a trapper’s net caught around it. The story shows a young boy along with the staff of a marine hospital who never gave up on the dolphin, despite her life-threatening condition. When the hospital was about to be shut down, a suitable alternative home was found for all the animals, all that is, except for the dolphin. No one wanted a dolphin with such a handicap and the only option was to “put her down”. At this point, two of my younger students, in two separate classes, asked what that meant. One didn’t wait for an answer and realized suddenly as she exclaimed “that means they want to kill her!”. The second student expressed sorrow at the thought, and neither could understand what would justify such an act.

As I considered the innocence and profound understanding of my students, that the “pretty” terms we coin for certain acts are just attempts at hiding the acts themselves, I thought of my studies.

I am currently starting a research on policy concerning withholding treatment of neonates who are critically ill or severely malformed and/or disfigured. The literature is overwhelming. There are those who are not only in favor of withholding treatment of such newborns, but some go as far as saying that newborns should be intentionally killed if they have some form of physical, although non-threatening, imperfection or no chance a having what they consider to be a quality of life.

I won’t exhaust you with what I’ve read so far. However, I thought of this today. We are so quick to seal fates and lives, and not give a chance to someone who, according to the way we see it, has no point in living. I’m talking about babies here. There are many examples of people being born without limbs or being amputated, even at young ages, and living their lives like anyone else. Yet, some would say they shouldn’t live because they are “impaired” or “defective”. Just like the dolphin. Nobody wants that. Is it really so?

The dolphin case drew hundreds, perhaps thousands, to see and be encouraged to move on, despite being “imperfect” according to human standards. Other instances such as Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm at a shark attack, also encouraged people not to give up. Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, is another. They don’t give up on themselves and pressed on. But do we give up on them?

Babies are being aborted for the most trivial reasons. For critically-ill newborns, in certain countries, doctors advise parents to withhold treatment or simply do so without their consent, just because they believe the newborn has no chance of living or of living a productive life. And this is in countries we might consider “enlightened”.

This may sound horrible to us. We ask: “How can people do that? Every life is valuable. Where is the sanctity of life?”

But do we really believe that? When we see a person who is “malformed”, “imperfect”, “handicapped” – do we think of that person as an equal human being, loved, cherished and valuable to God? Or do we somewhere in the back of our minds think – “maybe, just maybe it were better for that person to have died and not suffer so much. Or maybe – not to have been born at all”? Are we, as a human society, sacrificing our children to the “idols of perfection”?

This issue is overwhelming and I would appreciate your prayers as I research this difficult field. I want to encourage us all to “never give up, and give a chance” to those who seem to be imperfect in our eyes. I pray that we will see them as having infinite worth, beautiful, unique, pleasing and being perfectly complete in God’s eyes – because that is how he sees them and us alike through Yeshua. May God grant us the grace to love those who appear to be unlovely.

© Hannah Kramer

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