The intertwining co-existence of government and personal faith have rarely worked in each other’s favor. Yet when I look at Bible, I dare to hope for an answer for us as the Local Church today. No one is hopeless when it comes to the issue of abortion.
With Scripture as our source for living, we are not without examples of what to do when our hearts are burdened to the point of grief. In times of despair and disheartenment, Jesus prayed. So, we pray. In the midst of political chaos and uproar, Daniel fasted. So, we fast. We affirm with the Old Testament prophets, voices speaking up for the innocent. So, we shout and proclaim truth.
But when the passion of our boiling blood settles to a low heat and the topic fades into the back of the news headlines, when we feel helpless and possibly unable to enact immediate change, when the attentions of our routine life steal the importance of this issue which has bounced back and forth in the realm of focus for decades – where do we stand beyond the short-term?
During government-ordered abortions in Exodus Ch. 2, we see a combination of responses from people of faith, just like us. Midwives Shiphrah and Puah were not compliant and equivalently protested. Moses’ sister watched, waited and offered guidance in the right direction. Moses’ mother served in the gap to ensure life was guaranteed.
Just as I see examples of faith giants in the age of abortion thousands of years ago, I also see a model for consistent long-term action on our end as The Local Church. We’ve each as a body been sovereignly assigned people within our care outside of the church doors. Today we typically call this a community.
To our community, our preaching may fall on deaf hears. Our words may be misunderstood. But, there are godly solutions. Here are ways we can build for great Kingdom impact in addition to our devotions and disciplines of prayer, fasting, and proclaiming:
1. Become a solution provider.
Christians in general have been given a bad rap when it comes to the pro-life/pro-choice conversation. Though sincere and honest, we’ve overall as a body missed a vital portion of the equation.
On the frontlines of the abortion battle, we fight the hardest and shout the loudest for ladies to choose life for the child outside of the womb, yet we leave them without resources and a support system to aid in that decision after we’ve finished the convincing.
Because of shame, guilt, perceived disapproval of themselves and quite possible condemnation from others, women are not looking to the The Local Church for any answers when it comes to the choice of their pregnancy.
We have not done a great job of painting a picture of beauty beyond the birth for those who have experienced abuse or rape, willingly chose sex with a partner they didn’t want a baby with, discovered a health concern with the baby in utero or are wondering how they are going to pay the bills, nevertheless throw a child in the mix.
Our beliefs stand on Christ and the cross, the literal, visual image of grace, forgiveness and healing as a foundation. So, our response can never be “you’re stuck with your situation because of your choices.” No, our response will instead be “look what beauty God can bring despite what’s standing against you.”
Movements such as Embrace Grace make it possible for local churches to engage and resource women with unplanned pregnancies beyond the available choices.
Identified as the pro-love movement, ladies are intentionally surrounded with a support system for their child’s birth, groups to prepare them for the birth, a baby shower or celebration showers to meet practical needs (celebration showers are for those who choose adoption and are still showered in their pursuit of school, a career, etc. after the decision) and long-term sessions afterward to aid in real-life scenarios (budgeting, parental choices, etc.)
All endeavors are already outlined so your church can put solutions into play quickly and effectively.
This is just one example out of many that could be listed. You’ll have to make the decision of what’s best for your church and community. Maybe it’s something you’ve seen and could replicate. Maybe you start from scratch and build something new.
The point is simple though. Life isn’t something we simply pray about changing. We pray so God will do what we are unable to do, such as change hearts and minds. That doesn’t alleviate our burden to act where we are capable of impact.
2. Be resourced to point to a better way.
1 Timothy 2:5 says that Jesus is our Mediator between God and humanity. He is our better way, for God is love and love – as 1 Corinthians Ch. 12 and Ch. 13 emphasize – is the best way of all.
As a mobilized body in His likeness, our churches should serve as a mediator between people and a better way.
If we are unable to be a solution provider, we should be able to at least point to one. Adoption is the solution we carefully object to abortion, yet the average person doesn’t even know how to start the process.
It’s very accessible to find out where to have an abortion. Adoption isn’t that simple unless choosing a safe haven spot which is also only pursuable within a certain amount of days. Even then, there is no guaranteed way to be confident what child placing agency the child would go through.
Wisdom shows itself to be right by its results. History repeats itself in the lives of individuals when they choose the path that is most accessible. Close the gap – serve as the mediator – by doing the research and making the process easier.
Offer classes about adoption to your community. Ask your local government how you can fill in the gap. Provide counseling services free of charge to individuals and families trying to make this difficult decision. As before, the options are endless.
It’s not about what you do. It’s about pointing to something. Close in the trenches between the choice of death and life.
3. Teach and model personal ownership.
How do you engage someone contemplating an abortion? It’s tough to say. Usually the time gap is short. Their minds only see one option. And they usually aren’t walking around with a sign that says “I want an abortion.”
Those seeking abortions and see them as their only hope are people just like us before knowing Christ: void of hope for the future and/or no shame of sin. Their struggle is internal, just as yours was to change your language, put down the alcohol bottle, lower your fist or choose to remain faithful to your spouse.
What I’m saying is the reminder we all need – if it wasn’t this choice that showed their imperfections apart from God, their humanity would shine through something else. So, the greatest confidence of having someone choose life is pointing them to life before the decision comes.
I would argue it’s easier to depend on the law to legalize our convictions than it is to individually point to the Why behind our convictions. I’m not talking about posting our beliefs on social media. That’s easy. I’m talking about the daily battle and reliance on the Holy Spirit to live out Christ and tell His story to others so they may know the same.
We know the ultimate solution for our souls is Christ, but someone contemplating an abortion isn’t thinking about that. Faced with long-term, rippling effects that come with a pregnancy, a fogged mind isn’t running into a church service to make a decision.
That’s where the infantry to this battle comes in – personal evangelism in work places, neighborhoods, families and among friends.
If you want to see abortion die, it starts in the lives of men and women being transformed from the inside out, seeing hope because they’ve been offered hope long beforehand.
Like all things, the solution to abortion is not law. It’s not something we limit like a bad habit. Like all things, it’s deeper than that. It’s a heart issue.
Churches, let’s teach our people one-on-one evangelism.
They will always have reach to people who will never encounter our doors. Take Wednesday nights or small group times and model what that looks like, step by step. Give them room to practice. Teach them how to share their testimony. Offer examples of how to share the Gospel through relationship and Scripture. Mobilized individuals are now our modern day missionaries.
The Church has always been pained at the thought of loss of life before birth. I pray the pain never dulls from this day forward. For pain produces passion for results. Passion produces prayer. Prayer produces powerful results, and it also propels us to action.