Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thoughts on how Christians approach abortion.

It is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In Christian circles we hear a lot of "love the sinner, hate the sin," and other little tidbits for dealing with   people whose beliefs differ from our own.  And as best I can tell, that comes across to non-believers like millionaire TV preachers.  It doesn't compute at all.

Because at the end of the day, we aren't really separate from our actions.  What we do truly is part of who we are at a given point in time.

And so when we attack abortion as murder, and then try to attach some sort of "but God loves you anyway and so do I" to it, the whole sentiment is impossibly shallow.

I think the same thing is true when we make broad and damning statements about abortion within the church walls, alienating and shaming the ladies who are believers that made that choice at some point, and there are a lot more than we probably imagine.

But for the church, I think our call is one of much more empathy.  And that empathy has to come from a place of realizing that Jesus' standard for "hating the sin" put us all in the category of murderers.  Which is a bit hard to get my mind around.

Jesus said in Matthew 5 ...
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’[d] 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[e] you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,[f] you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,[g] you are in danger of the fires of hell.

If we are to take that at face value and apply it to our own sinful nature, it means a very hard look in the mirror before we start talking to someone else about hating their sin.

When we get that figured out about our own lives, we can approach someone else about their choices with the full understanding that we, too are guilty.  We aren't the ones who can separate sins and sinners.  And we aren't the ones who can pass judgement.

Don't get me wrong, in politics and society, I am all for restricting or eliminating abortion as a practice altogether. (Don't even start on life-of-the-mother issues, of course that is a matter between a woman, her doctor and God).

But as Christians making moral and faith-based arguments against the abortion, we must also remember that condemning the sin IS condemning the sinner.  And we, too, are sinners before grace.

Theologically and philosophically I am way out of my depth here, but I know that trying to have meaningful connections with abortion supporters has been hampered by some of the strange ideas that I learned in church growing up.

I was born in 1976, and I'm pretty happy that although my mom had two daughters already, and was in the process of entering her career in education, she had me anyway.  Thanks Mom.

Watching my son Joshua grow, and seeing the amazing potential that comes with every new little person is an incredible daily reminder of what we lose as a nation by allowing abortion to be commonplace.

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