After months of procrastination, I finally committed to go downtown (Cleveland, OH) to witness with Jonathan Eckel and some of his regulars one night. Upon arriving, I was given a stack of tracts and was asked to simply hand them out and try to engage people. Hey, I thought, I've listened to enough of Wretched Radio's Witness Wednesdays. I could do this.
The Green Light
This past Veteran’s Day, retail giant, Walmart, started a campaign called Greenlight A Vet whereby the public is asked to change one light bulb in a visible location to a green colored bulb as a symbol of appreciation and support for our veterans. As their website www.greenlightavet.com states, “green is the color of hope”.
But, it's a baby!
When pro-life Christians discuss the topic of abortion, we often times resort to the "it's a baby" coup de grace way too quickly and easily. Rarely though, if ever, does this tactic have the intended effect. Rather than our ace in the hole, it normally brings us to a rabbit hole. "Who says it's a baby? It's just a clump of cells." Off we go, chasing rabbits.
As a true follower of Christ, the first thing we need to consider is the person to whom we're having the conversation. Show them love. (Matthew 22:39) Has this person been personally involved with an abortion?... maybe had one herself? This possibility should set the tone quickly for us.
I made this very mistake once. Took a hard stand only to find out the woman had been raped and gratefully (so she said) had the abortion as a result. I apologized profusely and asked for forgiveness. She forgave me, but I didn't help her at all. Likely pushed her farther from God. I wasn’t prepared to have that conversation. I regret it to this day. So, here you have my motivation for this blog. The first thing we should do is determine if the discussion is personal or simply philosophical.
If philosophical, then we need to clarify what issue is at the center of the debate. It has little or nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose, privacy, rape, or incest. Rather, is the unborn human? … or not?
The Bible answers this question without any doubt. The unborn are indeed human.
If indeed the unborn is human, then killing it at any stage of life is clearly morally wrong. Unborn or born, it is still human, and killing an innocent human is murder. Although this is true, it is also harsh.
We need a softer and wiser approach. As Scott Klusendorf, founder and President of Life Training Institute (LTI), suggests, “defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy. Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.”
From a strictly philosophical standpoint, an embryo is no less developed than a newborn baby. Furthermore, there is no moral difference between an unborn human and you. Klusendorf uses the SLED acronym to help us remember the “non-essential differences”.
We can use these examples to address the person’s common criticisms. If intellectually honest, they must take these counter positions seriously.
If the abortion issue turns out to be personal one as mentioned earlier, then we must be more careful with our approach. This person may be angry, hurting, or remorseful. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding their decision. As author Frederica Mathewes-Green says, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.” There is very likely a feeling of guilt in this person. Again, we must show them love. This time, however, it should be God’s love.
The best place to start is the Bible. Romans 3:22 says, "We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done." There is no wrong too great that God can’t forgive.
Forgiveness from God requires repentance. (Act 3:19) Repentance is loosely defined as a change of mind that results in a change of action. A “change of mind” means a change in our way of thinking and a change of heart. We no longer wish to sin.
Forgiveness also requires faith in Jesus Christ. We acknowledge His sacrifice on the cross. He paid the price for our sins – past, present, and future. He is our advocate before God on judgement day. (1 John 2:1) Without Him, there is nothing we can do ourselves to earn our forgiveness. When we put our trust in Christ, we are forgiven. (Romans 8:1)
No better way to conclude than with a message of love, forgiveness, and hope.