Three women chose life yesterday at the abortion center where my Cities4Life sidewalk team spoke on behalf of the babies. A fourth had chosen life, stopping on the way out of the parking lot to tell us she had changed her mind about aborting. Later, she returned. We do not know if she went through with the abortion or not.
One woman stopped to talk with the nurse and me. She kept inching the car forward, saying, "I don't want to think about this."
"Ma'am, this is a matter of life and death. Don't you think you should think about this?" I asked.
She knew abortion was wrong, and she knew God would not approve, a God she claimed to know. Yet the car inched forward, as she stared stony-faced ahead, still listening. She could not quite force herself to close her window on words that she knew were true, albeit painful. Finally, she came to a decision, and the car pulled away from us. As she turned into the abortion center, my heart ached. The nurse, Sherry and I watched her and prayed together that somehow God would yet change her heart.
At one point, I noticed a young man carrying a toddler while waiting for the woman he had sent in for the abortion. I pointed that out to my friend Flip, who was on our sound system microphone at the time. Flip quickly addressed the young man with the child. The young man came storming over, wagging his finger inches from Flip's face and spewing a slew of nasty profanities. Flip stood his ground, unperturbed. Later one of the sweet women I work with, Anna, prayed aloud for that young man. She compassionately noted that he must have great pain and bitterness within to be so filled with hatred and anger, and she prayed for God's healing hand upon him.
This is one of the reasons I love being out there on the sidewalks of the abortion center proclaiming life. Not only do we have the incredible blessing of seeing babies' lives saved, but the people I work with are so courageous, so gentle, so kind, and so committed to loving humanity the way Jesus loves humanity. They speak with mercy, grace, and unashamed proclamation of truth. Every time I leave them, I feel I have been washed clean in their presence, inspired, and motivated to be braver, gentler, more loving, and more committed to my Lord.
In the course of this presidential election season, I have wrestled, as many have, with the choices before us. My gauge for choosing president has been fairly simple in the past. Is the candidate of good moral character who responds to adversity with calm but steadfast truth and strength? Can I trust him or her to work for the good of the nation I love? Does he or she know at the core of their being that life is sacred, and unborn life, like all vulnerable, weak, and innocent human life, must be protected, both legally and morally? Is the plank he or she stands for one I can support in good conscience?
To choose either of the candidates before us nullifies at least one of my major criteria. I will not tell you what I will do. This issue has become too divisive to the Christian community, and I worry as I watch friends fighting each other over an issue that should not divide. Thoughtful people may come to a different conclusion than I do. To be honest, I am not sure what I will do yet when I stand at the ballot box.
So I considered my work at the abortion center while musing over the election. The angry young man that almost came to blows with Flip said, "You don't know every situation here! So just shut the &***%$$^# up."
We don't know every situation, but that doesn't change truth or right from wrong. If it did, the world quickly would spiral into moral relativism. If all things can be justified based on circumstances, then nothing is sacred. As I have said many times before, either life is sacred, or it is not. Circumstances do not change the core value of life. I am sure there are implications for this election in these thoughts. I am still sorting through them.
I prayed with my fellow sidewalk counselors as our long hours at the abortion center came to an end. I was so glad we'd been there as always, knowing that we had spoken kindly but truthfully of God's love as well as we were able, being imperfect but sincere messengers. I trusted that God's word would not return void. I also felt the usual joy of being in the presence of friends who love God so much that they are willing to sacrifice so much to stand in obedience to His call.
If you don't have people around you like that, I would encourage you to find some. If you are wondering where to look, might I recommend the sidewalks of your local abortion center?
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Hebrews 12: 12-14
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.