“When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd” (Mt 9:36).
There is often a missing ingredient when it comes to the abortion issue, that of mercy. Mercy is the compassion or kindness shown toward another; especially an offender, an enemy. As Christ followers, we need to be moved with compassion for people’s needs, NOT disdain for hang-ups, issues, and sins. Our hearts must be gripped with a passionate love that sees past imperfections and rough edges, causing us to embrace those with different life experiences. We must empathize with people, trying to understand the context of their struggles and saying “I’m willing to face them with you.”
Please don’t get me wrong. America will be judged for the murder of 55 million innocent children. This is an atrocity that must be stopped. But in the mean time, while politicians play their games and pander to constituents, what should be the response of the Church? Admittedly, I ask this as one who used to stand in front of clinics and on the UI Quad holding up pictures of dead fetuses and crosses with baby silhouettes tacked to them. Somehow I think we’ve missed it.
For too long, we’ve abdicated to the government what we should be doing. Our hope is to put pro-life candidates in office so we can reverse Roe v. Wade. President Bush’s last year in office there were 1.3 million abortions. President Clinton’s last year in office there were 1.4. That’s not a significant difference. I also note that President Bush had the advantage of a conservative Supreme Court and for 6 of his 8 years, the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. I don’t overlook their efforts but am merely pointing out that the answer isn’t in legislation. Our current approach isn’t working and laws aren’t changing.
The Guttmacher Institute has stated that women in low income areas are 4x more likely to have unplanned pregnancies and 3x more likely to have an abortion. Many would have to work 3 jobs to care for their kids and pay expenses; and unfortunately they see abortion as the only option. 77% of all abortions are based on socioeconomic reasons. Proposals being offered include:
- Medicaid, privately funded insurance, or even churches can provide medical coverage and health services.
- Expectant mothers need guaranteed maternity leave so they don’t have to choose between their job and motherhood.
- Congress needs to raise the minimum wage. Many working full-time at the current wage can’t afford a one bedroom apartment, much less the expense of children.
- More educational programs would allow young mothers to finish school and get better jobs.
The projection is that these initiatives could cut the number of abortions in half! That’s over 500,000 babies!
Standby for the common conservative evangelical response…
“They’re reaping what they sowed and getting what they deserve.” So, what we’re saying is that children are God’s judgment and punishment? I thought children were a blessing. Plus I’m glad I don’t get what I deserve.
“If we enact all this social change, they’ll abuse it.” What happened to the trite saying “If we only help or reach 1 person it’s worth it.” Jesus was surrounded by people who abused his ministry: 9 ungrateful lepers, thousands who were fed but couldn’t handle his teachings, and even Judas. But he held out for Peter who wasn’t perfect, made mistakes, and was foolish. Plus, I’m sure we can think of someone who takes advantage of another’s benevolence, mercy, and grace. Look in the mirror.
“It will cost too much…(among other excuses): We’ve come a long way since “At any cost, whatever it takes save a child!” See, here’s the dilemma: we’re not just called to stand up for the unborn but the born as well. It’s paramount that we support those in difficult and inescapable situations. Let’s shine not scream in the darkness. We must be willing to listen…love…walk alongside…encourage…take someone’s hand and say, “Let’s figure it out together.”
“It’s not enough.” Can we please drop the all or nothing rhetoric? Many know of Oskar Schindler’s risky but courageous efforts that saved the lives of over 1200 Jews during the Holocaust. Few know the name of Chiune Sugihara. He disobeyed his government’s orders and issued visas to over 6000 Jews so they could escape certain death in the concentration camps. This put his life in incredible danger but he continued even while escaping on a train. It was said of him, “There are so many people living today because he took the time and made the effort.” It’s estimated that 100,000 people can trace their ancestry back to one of the Jews he saved and it’s 40,000 are still alive today. No one faults either gentleman for not saving the lives of all 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis. They are notable because they did what they could with what they in their corner of the world. Mark Salomn, a descendant of Holocaust survivors said, “Most people have this idea that you can’t really help the whole world, so what’s the point? Whatever you are doing with yourself, you are having a much broader impact. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees, but it’s important in every aspect of your life to remember you are having an effect and to make it a positive effect.”
How do we do that?
PRAY!!! It’s not up to us to present the problem—they’re fully aware of it. We must be part of the solution and present the hope that’s so desperately needed. HOW? Pray?!!? Maybe we can find greater purpose in 2 Chronicles 7:14 than to just let it be the token verse on the National Day of Prayer.
DEMONSTRATE CHRIST! We know the answer: Jesus. But how will they hear or know? Our silence and inaction becomes a death sentence for millions.
ACT!!! Get involved! Do something! There’s something severely wrong in a nation where an abortion is $400 and it costs $30,000 to adopt. It’s said that if 7% Christians would adopt, there would be no more orphanages or foster care services in the world. Get involved in tutoring, mentoring, become a Big Brother or Big Sister. My whole point is about personal responsibility. Stand up! It’s time to be His hands, go where He would go, and demonstrate His love that extends the great gift of the second chance.