The events of the last couple weeks, as NY passed the bill legalizing late-term abortion, have resulted in some high emotions. I don’t watch much news, but even I have seen reactions everywhere. I was horrified when I heard the VA governor, in talking about how “late” late-term could mean, basically advocate exposing unwanted children–choosing to kill them after birth if they were unwanted because of physical issues.
We have an emotional response to that. We’re supposed to have an emotional response to that.
But what is the emotional response supposed to be?
My husband and I were talking about this on the way home from church. Those of us who believe that life begins at conception must, therefore, believe that abortion is killing. And since it’s purposeful killing, premeditated, against someone not engaged in war, or who is not threatening the life of another…yes, I believe it does meet the definition of murder. BUT.
If we truly believe life is sacred…that has to apply to the mother too, right? We have to look at those who are debating and decide on abortion and love them just as much as we love the idea of their child. We have to be horrified, not just at the thought of ending a baby’s life, but at the thought of a mother feeling so hopeless that she would consider it. We need to learn how to open our arms wide and support those who find themselves in such a situation rather than just shaking a fist and calling anyone who would do so a murderer.
Many people do this. And many people think that, through their heated words, everyone just knows that they’re outraged at the act, not that they hate the person committing it.
But friends–those people can’t tell the difference. Because when someone is screaming at us in rage, all we know is that we have two choices: we can fight them back, or we can run away.
Neither of these is the response the Church wants people to have. So why do we continue shouting?
The emotion though…we can’t–and shouldn’t–just shut it down. So what do we do? What is the correct emotional response?
As I contemplated this, I remembered in the Gospels where Jesus, not long before his trial, pauses outside the city and weeps over Jerusalem. Weeps for the people who refuse to believe. Weeps for the prophets they’ve killed. Weeps for what He knows is to come.
Ah. Yes. That is the response that is appropriate. Not outrage–sorrow.
Anger, my friends, will do nothing for the causes we believe in. But sorrow…sorrow is something most of those mothers feel too. They feel it when they realize they’re pregnant. They feel it when they decide to go to that clinic. They feel it later when they look back on what they’ve done. Calling them a murderer is not going to bring them to the arms of our Savior, friends. But crying with them–wrapping them in our arms and mourning–that’s a different story.
I remember in college one day, looking around at all those people who didn’t believe like I did, who thought sex was just for fun and nothing to take seriously, I was moved to tears (which is very unusual for me) because they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand the beauty of what God created. They didn’t understand how sacred their bodies were supposed to be. They didn’t understand the value and worth they have, which ought to be protected.
And it’s the same thing here. They don’t understand. They don’t understand how these decisions will affect them for the rest of their lives. They don’t understand that the panic, the pain, the fear is so small compared to the regret and mourning that consumes most of the women who go through with an abortion.
They don’t understand. And this is NOT cause for outrage–this is cause for sorrow. Full, profound, soul-deep sorrow.
Now legislators might deserve some of the outrage, as might the Church for making so many women think they sit in judgment over them, making them think a private, secret appointment is better than living with people looking down their noses for the next two decades. But the women? I think Jesus had something to say about how to treat them. And I believe it began with, “He who is without sin…”
So often in church, we speak out against the sin without thinking about the heart of the sinner. We’re just so outraged, so horrified, that we don’t pause to think about who might be sitting there, bearing our accusation, feeling hated and reviled and condemned because of a choice made decades, years, months, or just weeks ago. People who don’t feel loved. People who don’t feel there’s a difference between what they did and who they are. Certainly not in our eyes.
The world has enough outrage, my friends. We who follow Christ need to choose something different. We need to #BeBetter
. We need to show His love and support them, bear their burdens, and make it clear that we love them
, not just the child in their womb. Cry with them. Embrace them. Don’t cast stones at the choices they’ve made or are considering. Instead, mourn with them for what they lost because they didn’t understand. Be there. Support. Encourage.
Outrage divides–but sorrow…shared sorrow will knit us together.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:9-15 (NIV)