A few weeks ago when the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) passed in New York I wrote a fairly scathing post about it that I fully intended to publish but I kept feeling like God was leading me to not hit “post” just yet, so I didn’t. I’m so glad I waited.
Secondly, I think if we’re constantly posting about every single issue that’s out there, our voice gets lost in the noise of a subject. Look at all the people who sounded off early about Covington and then had to issue apologies and retractions.
We don’t have to weigh in on everything, folks. Sometimes it’s good to be quiet. King Solomon wrote a great Proverb (17:28) that Abraham Lincoln perfected, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” So there’s that.
Anyway, holding my peace ended up being a good thing. God, apparently, had something more He wanted to show me.
To be clear, I’ve not changed my mind about the bill. I think it’s wrong. I think an elective abortion is always wrong and completely immoral unless the life of the mother is at risk. How sad that New York’s highest governmental official, Governor Cuomo, celebrates our nation’s shame. That Vermont has followed suit with a proposed bill that strips the unborn of an “independent [right]” to live only underscores the depth to which we have fallen as a nation.
I think, and I think this is the issue for many pro-life people like myself, it’s not the therapeutic abortion (in the traditional sense, not the broadened definition that is now being embraced across our nation) that unhinges society but the abortion that’s used like birth control rather than a medical necessity for the life and wellbeing of a mother. How could this ever be “right,” or moral once a child has been conceived and the mother’s life is not at risk?
So what happened that made me glad I didn’t post the other article?
God showed me a woman’s face. A beautiful woman I love dearly as my sister in Christ, who a number of years ago, opted to have an elective abortion. And when He did, my heart filled with compassion. My heart not only filled with compassion for her —- but understanding — for though I’ve never experienced the loss of a child through an elective abortion, I know what it’s like to need forgiveness in other areas of my life.
But we humans, we do like to judge, don’t we?
We are so very good at categorizing and labeling and trying to make sense of things through assumptions and judgments, until God shows His face to us in one of His children. Not all judgment, of course, is inherently bad (RHA as one case in point), but we do need to remember that the measure of judgment we use is the measure that will be returned to us. So there’s that, too.
When my friend texted me on the evening that I finished my well-crafted response to what I view as the hypocrisy of the pro-choice camp, I knew immediately why God told me not to hit post just yet. (She had no idea what I had written and had planned to post the next morning. She only said she felt like God impressed upon her to share “specifically” with me her story. Well, played, God. Well, played.)
Apparently, there was more to this issue than I could know when I was busy tapping out my unsolicited thoughts for the world to read.
Then He reminded me of another sister in Christ who also had an elective abortion … and then another one .… and then just this week yet another, sitting in front of me, asking for help. You get the idea.
All incredibly beautiful women living in a world that’s broken and messed up where none of us have it 100% figured out but as Christ-followers, we know the One who does. The problem is that sometimes we, as in me, don’t even bother to ask Him for His input at times.
And here’s where it hurts the most: All these women? As best I can tell, they stand in the shadows of our churches, afraid to speak up and afraid to “tell” for fear of judgment. Some, not all, but some, fall into addiction (as my friend did) to deal with the pain of their choice and then we (Church people) judge them for their addiction, too. It’s just crazy.
How can this be in the 21st century Church that often claims to be so spiritual and enlightened?
You do know what the world’s answer is to this dilemma, right? It’s to encourage women to fully buy into the pro-choice movement where they’re affirmed in their freedom to choose because the Church just doesn’t get it.
But here’s the thing: Maybe every denomination or non-denomination doesn’t get it, but Jesus does. And His answer was simple: “Go and sin no more.” And that answer pretty much applies to all of our sin, doesn’t it?
What Jesus didn’t say was, “You’re not wanted here because you did a really bad thing and you don’t care about babies.” But when I speak to these women, I think they do feel a sort of undertone of that from the Lord’s body, whether it’s true or not.
I do like to read John Piper but I have to tell you that his blog the week of the announcement of the passage of the RHA — though absolutely spot-on in my opinion about the culture of the pro-choice movement — just struck me as strange because there was zero mention of how the Church should embrace women who’ve had or are contemplating the elective abortion. Maybe he’s addressed it elsewhere. If he has, I stand corrected. (You can read his powerful article here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/we-know-they-are-killing-children-all-of-us-know
The question for me is what do we do with these beautiful, priceless women who’ve bought into the pro-choice lie that they can choose their own life over that of their child’s without doing harm to anyone, but who are presently dying inside even as they live now that they know better because of their relationship with a loving Savior — even if their relationship with Him began before the abortion?
I’ll bet if we go to the corners and far-reaches of our churches that we’ll find them there. Privately and quietly mourning a loss that not all of us can understand because we’ve not been in their shoes. We’ve not walked their road. But isn’t that exactly what Jesus came for? To take our place? Shouldn’t we as God’s people do that too, as much as we have the ability?
What if we as the Church of Jesus fought for everyone involved in this horrible tragedy? First and foremost for the most defenseless of all, which is the unborn child, and then secondly the women who go this way of the world?
I think any discussion of this topic by the Church must address both sides, lest we forget that God sent His Son Jesus to bring “whosoever will” into relationship with Him.
Having said that, the one thing I want to make clear is that this is not an indictment against the Lord’s Church, either. I get so tired of the Church being beat up. Sooo tired. I believe the Church is still God’s plan A for advancing His kingdom here on earth. Are we perfect? No. But I don’t know of a family that is. I believe when Scripture speaks to a spotless Bride it speaks to the Bride that’s fully embraced her faith righteousness with fruit to show for it. She lives out of a place of grace (the ability to overcome sin, not indulge it) rather than a place of performance (religion).
Ironically, it’s often the local Church that is discipling people and ministering to the lost, the broken, the hurting and the searching, yet we’re told that we’re still not doing enough. It’s no wonder that the average tenure of the American pastor is about ten years. Pastoring, while joyous most of the time, can also be incredibly lonely.
What I think that some forget is that “the church” is not the Church. Christians are the Church and it’s our job to see to it that we hold the line in times of moral decline by doing something about it. This issue of an elective abortion, more than any other issue, compels us to act. Simply “hating” that abortion is happening and “hating on” those who support it but leaving both at the Church’s doorstep to deal with is not the same as caring enough to DO something about it.
You may say, “Wait a minute! Christians do care to the point of doing something! We boycott! We protest! We post our opinion on Facebook! We verbally duke it out with those who promote abortion!”
Okay. But do we, as individuals, actually pray about it and contend for the lives of the unborn and their mothers?
Do we, as individuals, reach out to hurting women?
Do we, as individuals, financially support the local Church and ministries that work directly with women and men who are trying to raise children in this crazy, mixed up world?
Do we, as individuals, mentor young couples who struggle to stay married?
Do we, as individuals, feed families and their children?
Do we, as individuals, adopt children who need a home?
Do we, as individuals, foster children?
I know how this sounds. Bad, right? It is bad, dear one. In a myriad of ways.
If I bottom line this thing, it’s this: If we know that abortion is taking the life of a child and that there are literally millions of women who feel that they have no other choice, then why don’t we do more about it?
How have we become so deaf to this issue?
If we go to churches that don’t care, then why do we go there?
And why in the world do we elect officials who wear this atrocity like a crown?
Even if we can’t do any of the other things that I’ve already mentioned, shouldn’t we at least cast a vote for those who are working to protect the unborn as well as care for the women and families who need our help through the laws of the land, even if our vote for the elected official benefits us personally in no other way?
I love our country. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world. Yet, as a Christian, I am not a Republican or a Democrat or anything else. I am a Christian first and foremost. I vote my values because my values have eternal weight; my political affiliation does not. What could possibly be more important?
Beyond praying and asking God to give me wisdom on what-next, one thing I do know is that I can surely do something. Maybe if I do something and you do something — not anything ugly and dumb like how people get when they feel like their power is being diminished — but something that makes a positive difference, then maybe, just maybe we can turn this thing around a little. One thing I know for sure: If we, the Church, do nothing, we will have no one to blame but ourselves for the further moral chaos in our country.