Sunday, January 1, 2017

Abortion, Condemnation and the Church

"My friend and I visited a church on Sunday but the Pastor talked and talked about abortion and all I know is if I were one of the women sitting in the crowd who'd had one, I would never want to go back."

I looked into her big brown eyes that seemed so sad and my heart hurt while she vowed to never step foot back in that church again and said "We'll just keep looking."

I didn't really know what to feel.  Standing outside of the Mexican restaurant where we'd met for lunch and were literally freezing because it was so cold, I felt a tinge of anger for a man whom I knew I'd most likely never meet.  She continued to tell me that he shamed the women who'd had an abortion and there was never an offer of redemption for them.  

We stood there in the cold pretty much in disbelief at the lack of grace being dispensed before we realized we were so cold because we were standing in the shadow of the restaurant.

She invited me into the sunlight where we could warm up and continue talking.  But I almost had nothing to say.  It was like I was stuck.  Back in that moment.  That moment when I walked out of the clinic and protestors were shouting at me and shaming me.  The moment that I hated myself and knew I couldn't go back.  The moment when everything inside of me just wanted to die.

I finally mustered up the strength to say, "Well, you know my story, and all I know is if you're pro-life you need to be pro-life for the mother as much as you are pro-life for the baby.  There's no going back once you make that choice and I don't care what any woman says, the guilt and regret eat you alive."

I tried to reassure her that not all churches shame and that she should continue on her journey to find "the one" and I talked to her about an amazing woman I know that's had two abortions and now spends all of her time fighting abortion.  Not because she wants to shame any woman whose done it or considering doing it, but because she knows the pain and utter loss a woman feels having made that choice and never being able to go back and undo it.

Churches, pastors, leaders, I beg you.  Literally, beg you to truly believe that one sin is never greater than the other.  Love is all we have that can reach someone who has lost all hope.  And I promise you, any woman or man whose chosen this, has chosen it because they've lost hope. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  Our mission on Earth should be to extend hope to a dying world.  Not condemnation.

One of the most popular scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16 that states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life...

This is the part that we recite, remember and find peace and solitude in.  But there's more that we should all recite and write on the tablet of our hearts.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

If you want to save the next child, you need to let God use you to connect with the Mother.  And the only way to connect is to do what Jesus did.  Love.

He doesn't condemn.  That's not what he was sent here for.  He was sent to die for her sins and mine.  And let's not forget yours.

We are not the gatekeepers of grace.  Let's link arms and be the gatekeeper of judgement and then wrap our arms around a hurting world and love them all the way to the streets of gold.  Can we step out of the shadows where our hearts grow cold and be the light for the ones who feel hopeless?  I promise you, it's a lot warmer where the Son shines.

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."