On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that a woman has a right to abort her child at any point in a pregnancy – even to the time of delivery. More than 700,000 women decided to do just that in 1973. The number of abortions rose each year until in 1990, it reached its peak of 1.6 million for that year.
Today abortion continues as a “common” procedure — about one million are performed annually in the United States. Since January 22, 1973, more than 58 million unborn children have died in abortion. The number nearly exceeds comprehension.
The Scriptures are clear on the matter. While the word “abortion” is not used, life is described in the womb (Psalm 51:5; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:41,44), and God’s Word forbids life to be taken without God’s authority (Exodus 20:13). Nevertheless, some church bodies support abortion rights. Every one of them rejects the Bible as being entirely the word of God. Passages that would be used to speak against abortion are summarily rejected as “part of the Bible but not part of God’s word.”
And so it goes. For centuries mankind invokes God when needed and ignores God when he wishes to walk another path.
Admittedly, opposing abortion is easy, though not always popular. The scientific facts about the development of life in the womb are clear – even abortion advocates admit that in an abortion a life is lost. The tough part is knowing what to do.
Activism to correct this wrong, for the most part, has been political or legislative. That is not, however, how we got into this mess.
God observed, both before and after the flood, that “the inclination of man’s heart is evil.” It just is! Given the choice to do right or to do wrong, mankind in its nature is hostile to God. We see it in every facet of life. At its core, the problem is the heart. The problem is a mindset that opposes God. Left to itself we are told that the love of most will grow cold.
As with most sins the political and legislative solutions seem the obvious choice – legislate it out of existence. The problem is, however, one cannot legislate or decree the nature of the heart. While we favor laws and leaders who want to protect life we would, at best, be left with hearts frustrated by laws but still disposed to want to take the life of an unborn child.
The solution is what it always has been – the heart needs to be changed. Convincing someone who is facing an unwanted pregnancy to complete the pregnancy is ultimately not an act of logic but an act of faith. While pro-life forces like to skirt the issues of abortion in the cases of rape and incest, those particular issues highlight what is the real issue. Facing the cruel and evil violation of rape and incest has no comfort or solution in any other way than with a heart disposed to faith in God’s providence through it all. Aborting the child cures nothing and is fatal to the child. The memory lingers. The perpetrator often retains both his life and his freedom. On the surface it is one of the highest injustices. Since the memory cannot obliterated, the solution for many is to kill an innocent party in the hopes that healing comes faster.
Faith in God who has demonstrated that he can use the worst of circumstances to bring about the best of results ultimately is where healing begins.
Christians should want laws that are consistent with God’s will. Laws, however, never replace the mission assigned to every Christian and that is to share the message of salvation. We are happy for lives saved through laws, through protests and through pregnancy centers. But if all we do is save lives and neglect them spiritually, we fail.
Christians are, by name, committed to Christ. Superficially that commitment is characterized as kindness and love. In fact the commitment to Christ is a commitment to his mission which is to spread the news of sin, salvation and life that lasts forever. Yes, we work to protect lives, but we especially work to share the life we have eternally because of Christ’s own sacrifice for our sins.
The solution to this terrible scourge in our land begins with prayer. Simplistically we can pray for an end to abortion. More specifically, we should pray for changed hearts. Especially we should pray that the hearts of Christians are moved to act their faith. Our prayers should include the request that Christians recognize the burden of an unplanned pregnancy and that they are moved to help carry that burden. Our prayers should be that Christians are moved to do their mission to spread the Gospel of salvation through Christ and become Christ-like imitators in demonstrating love to all people.
In the end we cannot control what other people do or want – not even by laws. We can, however, control what we do and don’t do. A decision by one million women to take the life of their unborn child is either an act of pure evil, of ignorance or of desperation. A woman will either decide that God’s will is wrong and the child must die (pure evil), or she does not understand that life exists already at conception (ignorance) or she feels alone, hopeless and helpless (desperation). We fight evil with the proclamation of the truth of God’s word, understanding some will resist and reject it. We fight ignorance with proclaiming truth and information. We fight desperation by sharing the burdens of others.
On this 43rd anniversary of legalized abortion, I ask that you soul-search. Do not simply wring your hands of the terrible mess we have with abortion. Do not just pray that abortion would end and then go about your business. Pray that you might be God’s servant in solving this problem. Pray that you might find the strength, the courage and the means to share the Christian message of forgiveness and salvation through Christ. In that way we become a force of good and not merely a force of criticism because we bring hope and demonstrate hope with our actions.