Core Values Series: Redemptive Conviction 

This is part 2 of our 3-part First Image Core Values series. If you haven’t already, read part 1: “Unqualified Compassion.”

What is redemptive conviction? We state it as one of the three core values at First Image, but what do we actually mean?

Here’s a quick definition: redemptive conviction is when a deeply held belief shapes our life into a demonstration of love for our neighbors.

The pregnancy centers of First Image came into existence in 1984. Our first pregnancy center in Gresham was the 15th pregnancy center in the nation. That original center, and the pregnancy center movement at large, which has now grown to around 2,500 centers across the US, was born out of a conviction: The deeply held belief that every person conceived is created in the Image of God. And, therefore, abortion is wrong, and we should do something about it.

A group of people saw an opportunity to take that deeply held belief in a redemptive direction, and created places where women  facing unplanned pregnancies  could turn. Places where they would find compassionate support, education, and resources that would help them to see a way through and give them the confidence to parent their baby.

In order to volunteer or work at First Image, you have  to share a conviction about the personhood of pre-born children. In fact, you are required to sign a statement that says, in part,

“We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His Image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life.”

The first part of that statement articulates a conviction, and the second part – “we are therefore called…” – articulates the way that conviction leads us into a demonstration of love for our neighbors.

We all know that it is quite possible to hold a conviction in a way that is not redemptive. It is broken human nature to use our deeply held beliefs as a weapon against our fellow man … to condemn or lay burdens on others that we have no intention to lift.

At First Image, we fight that impulse by constantly putting ourselves in proximity to vulnerable neighbors as a support, a voice, and a resource. There, we learn unqualified compassion, and our convictions are shaped into tangible demonstrations of love toward our neighbors. When compassion and conviction are married this way, the likelihood that redemptive outcomes will follow increases dramatically.

Of course, not all of us can or should spend four hours a week volunteering in one of our centers – though if you feel the call and have the time, please do! There are so many small and large ways that the convictions we share can lead us to live our lives with creative love. Whatever form they take, it’s important that our deeply held beliefs, about the Image of God in our neighbors, result in demonstrations of love. That is how they become redemptive convictions. At First Image, that can look like praying, giving, sharing, making a baby basket, and much more. (Check out our Get Involved page to partner with us today.) There are so many ways to make a difference.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of the First Image core values series, where we share about “Jesus-Centered Transformation.” 

Your fellow follower,
Luke Cirillo