It is no secret that Christians are pro-life. It is not shocking to go to church and hear a sermon about why Christians are pro-life. I believe that Jesus doesn’t want us to kill each other – it’s pretty simple. Right?
But is it?
Is abortion the problem? If we erase it, will the problem disappear? Or is it the symptom of a bigger, more awful problem? Are we just too afraid to look at what’s really wrong, so we point to the horrifying reality of dead babies – because who is going to argue that dead babies aren’t horrifying? Are well-meaning Christians fixing anything by standing in pulpits or on street corners identifying you and you and you as potential sinners if we do not act now and wipe out abortion?
This is a hard subject for me, because it’s probably the only one I shy away from, and the only one that makes me shudder. I don’t like the terms ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ – neither one seems right or fair. Both terms feel like they exclude a whole group in the middle that desperately don’t want to be labeled or addressed or counted.
I love God. I love my church. I read the bible. I believe that Jesus walked around and touched the untouchable and loved the unlovable. I believe he doesn’t want us to hate or hurt or kill anyone. I believe that He doesn’t ever want to see us in a place where death appears to be the only option; our own death or anyone else’s.
But I also know that we get into those places, deep into them, and that there are places we get that are so far down, we can not only not see the sun shine, we can’t even remember what it feels like on our skin.
I can tell you that at my deepest of despair, and at my darkest and most shameful of moments – during the times when I was my most untouchable and the most unlovable – those well-meaning Christians were not reaching their hands down to help me up – in fact, they stepped right over me, and pointed to me as an example of how not to be; checked me off the list as ‘too far gone’ – and so I supposed that I was. And no – I wasn’t asking for help; I was not capable of asking. I was trying to stay alive. Jesus didn’t sit behind a desk and wait for the needy to file a complaint, or submit a form – He went out and found them and loved them and touched them and helped them stand back up.
He did not shame or accuse or slant His eyes at them. He did not hand them a pamphlet or hold up a picket sign. He never once accused them of “taking the easy way out” when they walked toward the only option that would make it possible to wake up the next morning and maybe the morning after that. He did not get angry at the lost for losing their way – or blame the starving for being hungry. He found them, and he fed them.
And he certainly never ran out and proclaimed himself PRO-HELPING or PRO-AWESOME after He did it. What purpose would that have had? The only reason we ever label ourselves is to ensure that no one ever mistakes us for THOSE PEOPLE. He wouldn’t have done that – it would have only been good for drawing a line between Him and them; good and bad; right and wrong. That was never His concern.
The next time you hear yourself proudly label yourself PRO-ANYTHING, ask yourself what you are doing to change whatever it is you think you are against. Have you loved any unlovables lately?
If you really want to end abortion – stop separating yourself from it. Stop declaring yourself as someone above it. It is the experience of your neighbor and your friend. It is the experience of the people you admire and love the most. It is the trauma that someone in your life knows – I promise. It is not that far away from you, and if you proudly declare yourself as having all the answers on the subject, and knowing beyond a doubt what you would do in any situation, you are sadly and unfortunately so very very wrong. You just can’t know. And you can’t understand a problem if you refuse to think about it – and if you can’t understand it, you can’t fix it.
Ours is not to declare other peoples sins. We are not the judge or the jury.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –John 13:34-35
Love one another – that’s our job.
Let’s start focusing all this energy on loving the unlovable and touching the untouchable. Let’s teach our girls to love themselves. Let’s start noticing when someone is hurting or falling or losing their grip. Let’s start accepting some responsibility when a dam bursts and none of us thought to patch up the cracks and leaks long before it fell. Let’s stop blaming the dam for being badly built and start building better dams. Let’s stop pretending that the causation of an abortion doesn’t start years and years and years before a woman finds out she’s pregnant. And for the love of God, people, let’s please stop pretending like she was the only one involved in causing ‘her pregnancy’.
Abortion is an emotional and dirty trick of a topic to argue about. Nobody wants to hear the other side – whether we are pro-this or pro-that – we tend to want to stay that way. I get that. I’m not writing this to argue or fix anything. I just think that to simply and dismissively say “it’s wrong” is irresponsible. Of course it’s wrong – but it’s an option – and we need to find out why it’s an acceptable one.
Abortion is the symptom – not the actual problem. Working toward convincing everyone that abortion is wrong is completely missing the point – work toward lovingly understanding why someone made that choice and figure out how to learn from it. Work toward loving her, even if her sin is unacceptable to you. Even if her life doesn’t make any sense to you, and her decisions look despicable and inexcusable – if you can look at her life and think ‘well, I would do it this other way’, then you are missing something – work harder.
It’s not ‘loving one another’ to fight over who is right and who is wrong. Every time you pretend like you fought the good fight against the evils of abortion because you yelled the loudest and spouted the most facts and pointed out the most sins – another girl wakes up in the morning and believes that she has no way out, and she doesn’t care what your voters registration card says about what you believe. She knows that she is scared and desperate and possibly alone and that she needs to live through this – and she’s looking at either a clinician or a clergyman for answers – whose contact information do you think she has? Whose office will be more welcoming and non-judgmental? Which one will be easier to hold her head up in next week? Which one will she be less afraid to walk into? Which office would love her like Jesus would? And most importantly, which one has been a mainstay and a beacon of support since she was young?
Shouldn’t it have been yours?