On the first night of Generation Life, the 8th graders attended their own session. It was led by REAP Team staff members, Paul Masek and Rachel Leininger, with guest speaker Melissa Ohden. Throughout the night, they focused on the role of God’s mercy in everything we do.
Cultures of Life and Death
The night kicked off with a game and then Paul began by explaining the meaning of the cultures of life and death. The culture of death says abortion is okay, euthanasia is acceptable, and hope is impossible. As members of Generation Life, we are called to live differently. We are called to be a culture of life. A culture of life says that we are called to love and extend mercy to all because we are created out of love. This isn’t always easy, and Rachel spent time discussing how mercy gets us from a culture of death to one of life.
Mercy: Bridging the Gap
During her keynote, Rachel painted a picture of what it looks like to live a life full of mercy. More than loving people that share our views, she challenged the teens to extend mercy to those that are on the opposite side of issues. Our culture of death often leads to people lashing out over their differences. Rachel pointed out that as people of mercy, we are called to be different. The bridge from a culture of death to a culture of life is made of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We were able to see this first hand during the session when that room of hundreds prayed specifically for Cecile Richards. She is the CEO of Planned Parenthood, and it would be easy to attack her views. Instead we prayed for her. The prayer experience was enough to give you chills.
Before we wrapped up the night, Melissa Ohden gave her powerful testimony of the role of mercy in her own life. When she was the same age of the teens in the room (14), she found out that her birth mother had an abortion while pregnant with Melissa. While it would have been easy to be angry with her mother, she chose a different path. Melissa extended love and forgiveness to her birth mother, allowing herself to become an instrument of God’s mercy.
What about you? How will you be God’s mercy?