The latest news about the abortion legislation in New York has definitely stirred up a lot of outrage and sadness from the Christian community and pro-lifers. Admittedly, when I read the initial articles about it, I felt like I had been hit in the gut. But as I have taken time to pray and reflect, my thoughts keep going back to, “What about the women?”
To remove any doubt about where I stand on the issue, let me be clear. I am a pro-lifer. But this article isn’t about the merits of the Pro-Life movement. It is about how The Church chooses to present the discussion. If we let our indignation, our sadness, our outrage be the motivating factor behind how we speak about abortion, we miss an incredible opportunity and may actually be pushing away women who need our love, compassion, and forgiveness.If we let our indignation, our sadness, our outrage be the motivating factor behind how we speak about abortion, we miss an incredible opportunity and may actually be pushing away women who need our love, compassion, and forgiveness. Click To Tweet
Presenting the Gospel should under gird our discussions about abortions.
The mission of the Church in its purest form is to present the gospel and bring people to Christ. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to push for political change to preserve people’s rights. I truly believe that Martin Luther King Jr. was following his calling to effect political change on behalf of the African-American community. In that same vein, continuing to pursue the protection of the unborn is a righteous cause.
However, our underlying goal should always be to bring people to Christ. And unfortunately, I believe that the current tone in our posts, articles, and discussions as pro-lifers will scare women away from the Church and from the gospel. We talk a lot about the unborn, but there is little discussion on the issues that women may be facing that led them to that decision. The natural outcome is that we come across as being unsympathetic and unwelcoming to those that have had abortions.
Understanding why women may go through an abortion.
According to CDC statistics, unmarried women accounted for 86% of abortions in 2015 and approximately 70% percent where done by women under the age of 30. These statistics are very revealing and we might begin to develop a picture of how some of these women could have come to this point.
Imagine you are 23 years old, pregnant, without a spouse. Imagine the initial fear that sets in. Your boyfriend is too immature to be a father or maybe it was casual sex. You know the guy won’t step up to the plate and you will be left with this all on your own. The fear is real and almost overwhelming.
If you were not raised in Christian home, no one really ever talked to you about how what is growing inside you is a life. You probably never really thought about it, until this moment. You go to a clinic to discuss your options and no one tells you that your 8-week baby already has a heartbeat and that its fingers, toes, lips, and eyelids are already starting to form. They don’t call it a “baby,” but call it a “fetus” which makes it sound more like a clump of cells than an actual human being. They give you pats on the back and reassure you that everything will be okay and that you will be able to get back to normal life before you know it. You move forward with the decision to abort the baby, because you don’t really see another way out.
Many years later, you are married and are pregnant again. You start reading every detail about this baby you want and already love. You read that at 8 weeks this baby is already a baby and all of a sudden you get a sinking feeling in your gut. You realize that what you aborted many years ago was a life, but you try to brush those feelings aside because you don’t want to deal with the guilt. Pro-choice proponents seem very convinced in their position and you hold on to that because frankly it makes that decision long ago bearable. It was your body, it was your choice. You had that right. You take a stand, but somehow that guilt doesn’t fully go away.
At some point, you meet this really nice Christian lady. You like her, you become great friends and although you don’t agree with her on a lot of things, you certainly like hanging out with her. One day you read something she posts about how despicable abortions are and you read comments her Christian friends make about the great sin of abortion. They tell you that you murdered your child. You feel the guilt and condemnation rushing in. You get defensive, you need to protect your state of mind, your feelings, your sense of guilt. You start brushing her off and decide her points of view are just too radical for you so you walk away.
What this Christian woman did not tell you is that Jesus sees you. He knows that you had an abortion. He knows how afraid you were. He knows how lonely you felt at the moment. She doesn’t tell you that He died for you so that you could be redeemed from this. She doesn’t tell you how much He loves you despite what you may have done. She doesn’t tell you that your baby girl is in His arms and that He is calling out to you and that if you accept Him that you will be able to see her again. She doesn’t tell you how she also sinned. It was not an abortion, but it was something else that would have separated her from God had it not been for Jesus. She doesn’t tell you that she is no different from you as we have all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. She doesn’t tell you that He, Jesus, was meant for the broken and the imperfect. She doesn’t tell you that He was meant for you.
Don’t let abortion overshadow redemption.
I can see this story playing itself out over and over again. Maybe the details are different. Maybe it was a young Christian girl who was just petrified of telling her parents so she chose abortion because she couldn’t deal with the shame. Maybe it was a woman who knew that the science supported the pro-life position that it was a life and she just didn’t care. To Jesus it doesn’t matter what the reasons where for sinning. His arms are opened to all that will come to Him with a heart of repentance and our arms must be opened as well.
We need to care as much about the lives of these women as we care about the unborn. And it is not enough to just tell ourselves that we care, we must be vocal about it. Women need to know that in Christ there is redemption, and love, and forgiveness and they won’t know that unless we continue to tell that story over and over again.
We need to ask ourselves, are we a church where women that have committed abortions can come into and feel like there is forgiveness? Or if they walk through our church doors, will they feel condemned and silently leave as quietly as they came in? Will they feel safe in sharing what they did and seek the help that they need? Or will they walk away never receiving the love of Jesus? Because that is as sinful and tragic as the abortion itself.Will women who had abortions feel safe in sharing what they did and seek the help that they need from Christians? Or will they walk away never receiving the love of Jesus? Because that is as sinful and tragic as the abortion itself. Click To Tweet
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