I have a policy about addressing hot topics on this blog. If a whole lot of people are saying a whole lot of things that I agree and disagree with, I don’t need to add my voice to the noise.
But as I have thought and prayed about the current decision on abortion passed in New York, I am compelled to add some of my own thoughts.
First off, if the thought of killing a fetus whether hours old or about to be born doesn’t seem wrong to you, nothing I say will convince you otherwise so I will not contribute except to point you to an article that simply states the facts: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/we-know-they-are-killing-children-all-of-us-know
So we move on past that and address those of you who are like me and don’t need this as information.
Because while I agree with all of that and while I cannot be silent on the subject, I was not always this way.
Like all good women of the 70’s, I embraced the rhetoric of the confusing times between Laura Petrie wailing “Oh Rob!” and Helen Reddy telling me I am woman, hear me roar.
I entered adulthood with a confusing mix of how I was raised and the new freedoms of “if it feels right, do it” and so I found myself in my 30’s one sunny spring day on our back patio with my neighbor as we watched our children happily playing.
We shared much in common, she and I.
We both loved Jesus and our families and while she had a more orderly way of running her home and I was more scattered, we had a mutual respect for each other.
And out of that relationship she asked me as we visited across the fence, if I thought abortion was right.
I answered her to the effect that while I believe human life begins at conception, if one of our daughters was ever raped and became pregnant I would want the right to be able to terminate the pregnancy in a healthy and legal way. I would want to be able to advocate for my daughter.
It sounded good and wise and righteous coming out of my mouth, people. I am admitting it.
And then my friend looked at me with nothing but love and asked me who speaks for the rights of the unborn child.
With that one simple question, not presented in an argumentative tone or a holier than thou way, my friend Stephanie spoke the truth in love and scales fell from my eyes and I have never turned back.
Having come to know her over the years, I know well that the conversation we had that day was bathed in prayer before it ever happened. Not that she was targeting me, just that it mattered so much to her that she was always prepared in season and out to speak truth.
I didn’t realize how much of what I believed had become conformed to the ways of the world.
I am not alone in this, but I will take responsibility for myself and not blame the culture around me.
I am currently reading a book by Eugene Peterson called Eat this Book.
It was published in 2006 and the focus is how we need to be ingesting the Word of God spiritually, just as we take in our food physically. Chewing on it and making a part of us internally so that it changes and transforms our thinking and beliefs and words and actions.
It is taking me forever to read and absorb what he has written because I have to stop and underline and draw arrows back to passages and make notes and comments in the margins.
Right now he is explaining how our culture of choice has led us to new levels of idolatry and the idol is self.
He contends that this is the case both inside and outside the church, as we sort through options from cradle to adulthood…he uses this example on page 32…from the time we are able to speak we choose between which cereal we want, what sandwich we want, what we will wear to school, how we will have our hair…this progresses to what college we will attend or the path of work we will take…
”The options proliferate: what TV channels we will view…what church we will join…If the culture has done a thorough job on us- and it turns out to be mighty effective with most of us – we enter adulthood with the working assumption that whatever we need and want and feel forms the divine control center of our lives.”Eugene Peterson; Eat this Book, 2006
He calls this the “new Holy Trinity” of Holy Needs, Holy Wants and Holy Feelings.
He says, “My needs are non-negotiable. My so-called rights, defined individually are fundamental to my identity.” and he concludes that in this anemic spiritual state of self we end up with a motto of “My feelings are the truth of who I am.”
Is your skin crawling as mine does when I think of how much more so we can identify this in ourselves and our surroundings thirteen years after Peterson penned these words?
I see it around me but I can not deny I see it in myself.
As Christians, we are living in a time where the exaltation of this unholy Trinity of Me, Myself and I is expressing itself in increasingly shocking and mind-numbing ways but I remind you as I remind myself…the pattern of our beloved Scriptures that we love to hold up to the world is for God’s people to first humble themselves before Him and ask Him to reveal to us our own sins and shortcomings. To repent and return and then to pray for those who are still blinded.
Perhaps some of the insanity of recent events in our government and legislation that is stirring righteous anger in us, is actually a wakeup call from God for how far we have compromised His truth and adopted the false god of self.
While I have not had an abortion, I have chosen when I was ready to bear children and the limit of what we could “afford and handle.”
I live in a church culture that beams over the appropriate number of children in a family and then begins to laughingly ask “You do know what’s causing that, right?” when the number begins to exceed what we consider doable for a family financially and emotionally.
I have prayed for those who were having trouble conceiving and questioned why God withholds children from “good families” and neglected to realize that for many of us there were decisions made to withhold having them until we were “ready.”
I have had to confess to God my own “choice” decisions that left Him and His plan out of the equation.
I think it is important to face our own idols of “self” and repent and receive forgiveness and then pray for our land as we speak the truth in love and humility because we know our hands were not clean either.
One of the most provoking questions I have had to face came from the director of our local crisis pregnancy center. She asked me once, what are you doing right now to advocate for the rights of unborn children?
There are multiple ways to serve that community that is struggling with the choice offered to abort by giving of my time and resources and lifting in prayer.
I fall short in this all the time.
Hard words today, my friends, but I speak them first to me. I have done some heart-searching and I hope you are too.
“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves…and pray….and seek my face…and turn from their wicked ways…then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14