Acknowledging the Pain – Clarification

Thanks to my friend Nancy for a response to my earlier post that highlights some possible confusion I want to clarify!  Nancy writes:

Attempting to not come across as anything but respectful of your point of view…. Perhaps the first step would be to not discuss abortion from the pulpit or to not post up posters/attach papers into the bulletin.

I say this because people who have had an abortion (I imagine) already feel a sense of loss, of pain, of despair, or many other emotions. I’m not sure a sense of shaming/isolation will bring them closer to Christ/a sense of forgiveness.

Whenever I speak or hear someone else speak of abortion, I always think, “You just never know what people have experienced. You just don’t know.”

Perhaps we should allow Christ to work in these peoples’ hearts. We can acknowledge the pain without being a Pharisee about the whole thing.

Quick, not yet fully detailed thoughts, but there you go…

So let me clarify a couple of things here…and thanks for Nancy to indicating that I might have come across differently than I had intended!

My original post was intended to be critical of churches that too often just want to point the finger and wag it at people saying “Don’t you dare!”  This indeed needs to be said, but it isn’t all that ought to be said.  To those who live with an abortion, this is simply law – a reminder that they have sinned.  Law has it’s place, and within the church I believe the proper use of the law in this instance is to show people the proper behavior.  To explain to them from Scripture the sacredness of human life, and the ridiculousness of anyone drawing an arbitrary line and dictating that prior to this line, it is a fetus, and after this line, it is a human being.  Before this line, it’s like trimming your fingernails.  After this line, it’s murder.

The church needs to speak boldly and loudly to a culture obsessed with convenience at the sake of human life.  But to those who have – for whatever reason – made the decision to abort a child, the church needs to speak forgiveness and grace.  Equally boldly.  Equally loudly.  To wrap it’s arms around that woman, that couple, that family, and proclaim the Gospel to them.  The Gospel that alone can heal, can soothe, can comfort, and can give hope. 

I wanted to acknowledge that there are many women in our churches – and many more outside them, probably – who have had abortions, and who regret them.  Who suffer from them – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  And the church needs to be able to tend to them in these areas.  The goal is not to shame them – the goal is to assure them that there is forgiveness, and there is strength to live differently and choose differently in the future.  The goal is to bring them in from the isolation that many impose on themselves, and to remind them and assure them that they have a family in Christ, and that there is no condemnation in Christ. 

It’s a lot easier to speak the law than to start down the long road towards reconciliation and forgiveness.  I would like more churches to embrace both of these roles.  I believe that abortion is something that needs to be spoken about from a Biblical perspective from the pulpit and in the narthex and in the bulletins – because it isn’t likely to be spoken about (or listened to) from a Biblical perspective anywhere else.  The church has a duty and obligation to try and protect those within her folds from the lies the world tells, and the lies we sometimes tell ourselves.  But that obligation to educate and to teach and therefore to protect also requires our constant awareness that we all fall short of the lives we are to lead, and that we each need to offer the forgiveness and love that we expect when we ourselves fail and ask for forgiveness.

Does this make more sense?

4 Responses to “Acknowledging the Pain – Clarification”

  1. Nancy Campbell Says:

    This does make sense. I suppose as a liberal Christian, I just get my hackles up when politics is discussed from the pulpit. I see your point, but I just respectfully disagree.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    I don’t see abortion as a political issue – though tragically it’s been turned into one.  Abortion is a moral and ethical issue through and through.  It goes to the core of how we think of ourselves as human beings, which is what the Bible begins and ends with – who are we as human beings?  The attempt to frame abortion as just another political issue is not accidental, and it has some pretty far reaching ramifications for both liberal and conservative Christians.  I can appreciate a difference of opinion, but I’m also guessing there’s more to be discussed here than just politics in the pulpit.  I’m game if you are

  3. kinokanada Says:

    I’m pregnant!

  4. germanfilms Says:

    Teach me how to cook rolls!

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