Recently my wife blogged about her struggle to make a decision about wether or not to drive a young lady to an abortion clinic. Quick before your knee hits you in the nose go read her blog post. (Do not read the rest of this post without reading her post first. I know you’re tempted, but Don’t Do It.)
Here are the things I learned about God and following Jesus from watching my wife struggle with this decision.
1) God loves people more than he hates sin.
Does Becky hate abortion? Absolutely, she is a black and white–right and wrong kinda gal. However, Becky loves this girl more than she hates abortion and this has caused her to look beyond the obvious answer and struggle with how to best love this young lady. I’m not sure how often Christians reflect this sentiment. As a whole we tend to be known for what we’re against. The old hymn, They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love may need an update. Perhaps They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Ban Gay Marriage Bumper Stickers. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take a stand against things that are, by Gods standards, wrong. I just wonder if we shouldn’t reflect on wether we’re more passionate about loving broken people or keeping them from sinning. It’s good to remember that Grace was God's answer to how to best love us!
2) God understands our struggle because He created us and came and lived among us.
Becky is struggling with this decision because she knows and loves this girl, she knows and understands the circumstances that lead to this moment in this young women's life, and that knowledge leads to empathy and love not to judgement. Becky doesn't see this girl as a good person or a bad person she sees her as a hurting person with lots of hard choices in front of her, some right and some wrong. Becky sees this young lady as desperately in need of love and grace and truth.
3) Being obedient to Jesus is better than being "right".
Becky knew immediately what the "right" thing to do was. She grew up in conservative midwest churches. The "right" answer is: no good Christian would ever drive someone to get an abortion. Fortunately Becky's maturing faith allows her to ask not “What seems right?”, but “What
is Jesus leading me to do in this circumstance?” When the religious leaders of Jesus day chastised Him for healing someone on the sabbath (the day of rest declared by God; in the ten commandments no less) it was because they knew what was “wrong”, no one is to labor on the sabbath, therefore you shouldn’t heal people on the sabbath. But Jesus knew God’s heart and His decision to heal was based on God’s heart, not rules established to uphold God’s laws.
4) Simple slogans can be a barrier to understanding complex issues.
Because “Abortion is Murder” driving someone to get an abortion would make you an accessory to murder right? I wonder how often we get caught up in the slogans of our faith or movement and how often they begin to shape how we think and how we act. Nothing in life is simple enough to be understood through slogans printed on bumper stickers, cardboard placards and church signs but Christians really tend to love their slogans. There is an abortion clinic just a few blocks down the street from my wife’s office and every day there are people holding signs up outside. I don’t know one way or the other but I wonder if they spend any time ministering to people who are likely to have “crisis” pregnancies? I wonder, if you’re holding up a sign that says “Abortion is Murder” are you more likely to see the people that pass you going in and out of the clinic as murders or as people God loves and Jesus died to redeem.
5) Life following Jesus is difficult, messy and uncomfortable.
It’s easy for me to sit back and write about the lessons I’m learning from Becky, but if you read her post, you know this is a real emotional struggle. The American dream is to lead an easy, neat and comfortable life. Be honest with yourself and examine how many decisions you make are in the direction of easy, neat and comfortable and how many are in the direction of difficult, messy and uncomfortable. From what we drive, to what parts of town we’re willing to drive through we like things comfortable, but what if following Jesus means embracing discomfort, messiness and difficulty? I’m pretty sure it does, because the people most in need of God’s truth and grace live in a difficult messy and uncomfortable world. The more we follow Jesus in His redemptive plan the messier things are gonna get.
6) Proximity and Time begets love like nothing else can.
From a distance it’s easy to judge this situation and this girl. From a distance you can’t understand the circumstances, you can’t feel the emotion and you can’t know the hurt. From a distance the situation is black and white. However, because Becky has spent time with this young lady, because she is close to her, Becky has a perspective very few other people have and it allows her to look past the facts of the situation into the heart of the girl. It allows her to react out of love. If we want to really love people the way God does we need to spend time in relationship with them.
As of this writing Becky is still doing everything she can to convince this girl to put this child up for adoption, so please if you are a follower of Jesus pray for Becky and this young woman. Before you decide to give Becky unsolicited advice, remember she is striving to follow the Holy Spirit. My opinion is that there isn’t a right or wrong decision here, only an obedient one. I know my wife and if, God forbid, this young woman decides to have an abortion Becky will prayerfully seek godly council from a few trusted men and women before she decides what to do.
Just in case your blood was boiling too hot to read straight, this is not a question of wether or not abortion is acceptable for this woman. Becky believes abortion is wrong. The question Becky is struggling with is, how is God calling her to love someone who has chosen to get one.
So, would Jesus drive someone to get an abortion? I think it’s a question worth struggling with.