A Hard Conversation

In the past couple of weeks, one of the biggest news stories has been the new laws in some states regulating (or – rather – allowing) a medically-induced termination at the very last moment in a pregnancy, commonly known as an abortion. The highest of ethical and moral questions should be asked – and answered – regarding these new laws and the path they may encourage us to take as a nation. Pray for wisdom from above as you navigate these issues within yourself and in your conversations with others. Surely, in a note short as this one, I cannot offer sufficient wisdom for everyone.

While I certainly don’t have answers for every possible case scenario or situation, I do read the Psalmist’s reflection on his pre-birth existence – “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16) – and I can’t help but know God’s investment of personhood and life into an unborn child.

Please, as you engage in the national conversation about these issues, realize that they are so much more than political issues. As moral issues, the answer will not – indeed cannot – be found in politics and legislation. Consciences and hearts must be changed, not just laws. Arguing, yelling, and demonizing other people – waging ideological warfare – never changes minds and hearts; it only entrenches people behind the battle lines that have already been drawn.

Folks, don’t be fooled by the world and its ways. Politics is about power – when your party or platform has more votes, you’re happily in control because you have the ability the exert your power over others. The hard-to-swallow part is that when someone else wields political power, you’re subject to their whims. The answer to moral issues is never in the majority vote, it’s in the changed heart.

I offer the following four quick ideas for your discussion:

  1. Don’t attempt to score points. Conflict is resolved when you have “gained a brother” (cf. Mt. 18:15) not when you’ve killed an enemy (Lk. 6:27-36).
  2. Offer your ear. Too often we’re not listening to what others are saying; we’re already planning our next angry retort (Jas. 1:19-20).
  3. Offer solutions. I can’t help but think about adoption as a solution to unwanted pregnancies. I myself am adopted (and thankful to God for it!). Adoption is an expensive and drawn-out process. What will you pledge to help couples/families who would take up the charge to adopt a child into their own family? By the same token, could you foster? Volunteer with child service organizations?  (Jas 1:27; Ps. 82:3)
  4. Offer Jesus. Even if someone has chosen the route of terminating a pregnancy, there is still hope for redemption through the gospel of Jesus; abortion is not “the unforgivable sin.” The first three points are just common decency expected of anyone, this fourth point is something only the Christian can offer.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Philippians 2:14-16