When I read Rev Milne's editorial (Jan/Feb 1998), on the continuing disaster of abortion in this country, it evoked a deep sadness and a sense of helplessness in the face of such an onslaught of evil. The saddest thing is the realisation that the numbers represent helpless little pre-born infants; in fact the most helpless members of society. Perhaps it is easier to cope with this awful reality by thinking that abortion is a 'pagan problem', that we don't do abortion so really it is a "them, not us' situation.
Abortion is murder and it arises out of a murderous attitude. [Matt 5:21-23]. Such an attitude is surely a consequence of a general disregard of God's Law and an elevation of self. It is no surprise that some mothers do not balk even at murdering their new-born infants, as has happened recently. It is a very little step from thinking to doing, especially if one's thinking has been corrupted. Therefore we must guard our hearts and minds and resist the (futile) thinking of the world. [Col 2:8]. As Christians we hate abortion, that goes without saying! Or does it? Are there any areas of our thinking that we need to subject to the standard of Scripture and perhaps repent of? Let me cite a few examples of what I mean.
Recently I read some 'case histories' of women who had rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies. Without exception the reasons for which these women had had abortions did not fit the criteria of the legislation (that the pregnancy posed a threat to the mother's health(?!!). Worse yet was the fact that the reasons were frivolous and downright selfish! How did things come to such a ghastly pass? How is it that women who were made for the role of nurturing, have become a threat to their own offspring, making the womb one of the most dangerous places on Earth? Is this a problem that just arises out of feminism, an expression of women's so-called autonomy?
I believe that it has a great deal to do with men no longer protecting women, particularly from themselves. When men condone, promote or participate in abortion, they are no longer men, they have forsaken their role and responsibility. That includes side-stepping responsibility by saying that it is 'up to women to decide' or that abortion is something the 'lesser of two evils'. Women think they are free to choose but they have merely taken on the shackles of a terrible slavery and made it possible to be used and abused. The first step to dealing with the terrible problem of abortion is that Godly men unashamedly demonstrate proper, Biblical manhood, putting aside the insipid SNAG image that is widely promoted. That means that men need to rule their households in a strong, authoritative manner and not be intimidated by the rhetoric of the vocal feminist.
An area that comes a little closer to home is the attitude we display toward those who are endeavouring to serve God in ways that really stand out in contrast to the patterns of the world. A while ago a friend of mine announced that she and her husband were expecting their tenth child. Very few people congratulated them. Another friend was expecting her eighth child but she kept the pregnancy a secret for as long as she could because she feared people's reaction. Both these mothers are members of the Church. Quite a few believers were openly rude to these mothers, making remarks that alluded to their ignorance of bodily functions concerning reproduction or giving 'loving rebukes'. Worse, what was said behind their backs was nothing short of scandalous. The general opinion was that it was irresponsible to have so many children. Yet God promised an abundance of children as a blessing and nowhere do we read in Scripture any admonition to limit the number of children. Whether or not a couple desires a large family is between husband and wife before God. (How many couples pray about family size, spacing etc rather than just making these decisions autonomously?)
We should be very careful not to despise those families which desire God's blessing in full measure. It happens all too easily that people, especially the young and inexperienced are pressured into decisions based on what is 'socially acceptable' rather than what is Biblical and pleases God. The Church community should always be a refuge from the world, allowing folk to obey God without constraint from worldly considerations. We should not allow the world's ethics to set the standard for us. Every objection I've ever heard against having a large family has wilted under the searching light of Scripture.
Our responsibility to engender a Godly environment in order to promote Godly living and thus fight the corrupting influence of the abortion mind-set extends also to the advice given to couples newly married or contemplating marriage. It has become common to advise couples to wait before having children; financial and relational security are seen as priorities before 'introducing a third person into the situation'. These things should be established before marriage and couples encouraged to seek to have the marriage blessed in God's good time. In this way the Christian marriage is a real witness to the world for the Christian marriage is not established on self seeking. This is most obviously demonstrated by a willingness to nurture children, whose very utter dependence requires a loss of self. This is contrary to the self fulfilment lifestyles of the unbeliever, the ultimate expression of which is the killing of the inconvenient (unborn) child.
Some Christians claim to oppose abortion but make allowances for some situations. Of course these are plainly situational ethics. I read an article in "Trowel and Sword" (July 1995) in which Christian doctors stated that in cases of rape or where a mother's life was in danger that it "could seem impossible not to condone an abortion". If those whom we consider to be called to help people, particularly when in pain and crisis, echo the thinking of the world, how can the lines between right and wrong not be blurred? How then can we be a witness to a world that doesn't know or has forgotten the difference between good and evil?
Yes, some women and girls really suffer as a result of bad circumstances surrounding a pregnancy but if they are prepared to suffer for righteousness sake, who knows what blessing the Lord may bring out of that? Their suffering may be an eloquent witness to others, giving courage or demonstrating the sort of selfless love that the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated. There is a true story of a young mother who contracted cancer early in her pregnancy and inevitably she was advised to abort her child. Her steady refusal to do so in the face of great pressure even by her husband, had an impact on her medical team, fellow patients and her family. Not everything turned out rosy but she did right even to her cost [Psalm 15]. She stood as a member of the Church militant rather than the "church' therapeutic'.
Many times I've been saddened to hear mothers in the community complain about and slander their children in public. These mums seem to despair of their task and their offspring and no doubt they have reason to complain. When parents 'go it alone' and neglect the pattern for living provided by God in His Word they make a rod for their own backs. One of the sad consequences of this is that the influence of this bad-mouthing can spread and affect everyone. Try having a conversation about children with anyone you meet and see how quickly it degenerates into a complaint session. An area where we can really combat the world's 'abortion mentality' is to champion the cause of children and show that we really cherish them and the task of training them up. Many Christian families are a light for their community teaching other families how to raise children both by example and often by help and advice also. This makes a real stand for 'pro-life'.
Not every one can protest the evil practices that continue unabated,
by dramatic means like going to jail or speaking on television.
Not all of us are eloquent in debate (especially heated debate!),
but we can all speak the plain truth to our neighbours, friends
and the community. We can pray for individuals and organisations
that fight for the protection of the unborn. We can all strive
to do right in family life, demonstrating that God expects us
to keep our vows. Finally, we can live a life that decisively
demonstrates that we are a people set apart, clearly being different
in attitude and action, never compromising, so that the mixed
up, strife torn unbeliever knows where to come for unwavering
direction that leads to a change in life. [I Peter 2:12]
Your sister in Christ,
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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / firstname.lastname@example.org / revised July 1998 / Copyright 1998