So, my wife, Lisa, asked me a great question after talking with her about the blog I just wrote on grace without truth. She said, “How would you do it?” I said, “What?” She said, “How would you share Jesus with people in an abortion clinic and those seeking abortions? How would you tell them God loves them and tell them the truth at the same time?”
That was a difficult question, but one that I think needs to be addressed!
I spent a lot of years working in the Oregon Legislature as staff to members, as a committee administrator, and as a both a contract and agency lobbyist. I never lobbied the abortion issue, but I did run political campaigns for those seeking office and all my clients were all pro-life. This experience allowed me to meet a lot of pro-choice people and lobbyists who opposed my candidates! Here’s what I learned.
Those in the pro-choice movement are just as passionate about the “right of a woman to choose” as I am about Jesus Christ! From their perspective, abortion is not really a moral issue, it’s a health care issue and a personal choice issue. And I’ll say this as well, most of the pro-choice people I’ve met are pretty nice folks. They aren’t Satan even if I believe they’ve been blinded to the truth by Satan! 😊
But, we start from diametrically opposed viewpoints, which is a gap that is always difficult to bridge.
When Lisa challenged me, I asked myself how Jesus did it. Jesus ate with sinners in their homes and went into Samaria and spoke with the woman at the well, proving that He met people where they were. But these were people open to the message. So, I think it instructive that you definitely meet people where they are when they are receptive to at least listening.
But, scripture also tells us that Jesus spoke with people that rejected both Him and His message (Pharisees, Sadducees, rich young ruler, 70 disciples). In these cases, people were not willing to listen to the message and rejected Jesus out of hand. What did Jesus do in these cases? He either let those people walk away or He Himself walked away.
In fact, He directs us very succinctly what to do when people don’t want to listen to our message.
First, in Matthew 10:14 He directs the disciple to go town to town sharing the message. If the people there accept the message, Jesus tells His disciples to stay with them. However, if they reject the message, Jesus tells His disciples to “shake the dust from their feet” (which is a significant insult) and leave that town!
Second, in Matthew 7:6, Jesus teaches us not to throw pearls before swine – not to entrust holy teachings to unholy people because it is futile to try to teach them – the message will be rejected (trampled upon).
From all this, I learn from Jesus that I am to speak to anyone who is willing to listen in grace and truth even if they disagree with me. However, I also learn not to really spend much time with people who absolutely reject the message and are unwilling to even listen or have a reasoned conversation.
What do you do with this? For me, I share the message of grace and truth but I do so where it can be effective. Would that message be effective if I walked into some random abortion clinic and began talking with staff and clients? Naw, of course not. But it could be effective if I intentionally sought out these people in an appropriate venue to talk about the issue, which perhaps we need to think about actually doing!
And during those conversations I’d share that God loves them, just like my friend says! I’d also tell them that God wants something different from them than what they’re doing!
To be honest, I get very frustrated with the pro-life movement. Standing outside an abortion clinic with signs denigrating and judging people is not a way to bring people to Jesus! Nor is spending millions of dollars on political campaigns to change the law. I’m a firm believer that you can never argue someone into the faith, but you can love them into it.
So, how would I love people in grace and truth when it comes to abortion? Here’s my recipe, see if you agree.
As a Christian, I totally agree with the argument made by the pro-choice movement that if we really cared about the child we would ensure that the child wasn’t just born but that the child was cared for and raised in a good home through its entire childhood. Amen!
This is where I think we Christians can and should show how to really love both the mother and the unborn child.
Honestly, if we really care about the unborn, we must not only help a woman with an unwanted pregnancy see the hope in Christ of having the child, but we must also put our money where our mouth is and provide health care, housing, and safety while the woman is pregnant. But that’s not all! We then need to provide the continuity of care the woman needs if she keeps the child or adoption services if she wants to give up the child.
I know these services exist to some extent, but I don’t see them as being as prevalent as Planned Parenthood clinics in our communities and I wish they were. This is where I think the church could make a significant difference.
But there’s even a less systematic way to do this. If you’re pro-life and have some means, reach out to someone in need and help take care of them on your own! Go to the local high school and offer help to a pregnant student. Go to a local non-profit that helps unwed mothers and tell them you’ll help! Buy diapers, clothes, formula, and the rest. Pay the doctor bills for prenatal care. Help fund daycare for a mother that needs to work. Provide respite daycare as well! Give sacrificially not just out of your wealth! There are so many ways to get involved but you have to reach out! Imagine what a difference we could make in our communities if the entire body of Christ did this!!
I like the fact that my wife challenged me on this. It’s one thing to say what I’m against but quite another to say how I would fix it and what I am for! Thanks, Lisa, for always sharpening me! I truly believe that we as Christians can share the heart of Christ, as well as the truth of His word if we are intentional and follow His example.