I know, some of you read the title and are ready to send me a scathing, 3,000 word e-mail about abortion, the right to life movement, Roe v. Wade and fetal heartbeats. Don’t waste your time. I’m wholeheartedly against abortion. I believe it is murder and I also believe that a just God will one day hold America accountable for one of the most atrocious holocausts of human history. So please, spare me the graphic pictures of aborted babies and the heart-breaking statistics, I am all too aware of this gruesome chapter of the American history book.
So if I am aware, and I have strong feelings on this topic (like most conservative Christians), then why don’t I join the March for Life in Washington, D.C. on this, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade? Why, especially since I live a mere three hour drive away from the capital? Why won’t I, as we are so apt to say concerning this, give a voice to the voiceless in this way? Why? There are several reasons, but they all boil down to the simple question: does it make a bit of difference? I firmly believe the answer to that is “No. No it doesn’t.”
Jesus Didn’t Call Us to March in a Parade
Jesus lived and died under the rule of one of the most powerful, most tyrannical governments in human history. Rome practiced Emperor worship, idolatry, and yes, infanticide by leaving a child in the wilderness to die of exposure. Not once in Jesus’ three year ministry did He organize a march on Rome. Not once did He tell His disciples to go the provincial capital of Caesarea-Philippi to protest such a vile, wicked and corrupt government. Not once do we read of Jesus carrying a placard through the streets of Jerusalem. And not once does Jesus indicate that we are to do any of that stuff either. Jesus called us to make disciples. He challenged us to change lives one person at a time. He told us that instead of a placard we should carry a cross and instead of lifting up protest signs we were to lift Him up. Why? Because Jesus knew that political protesting is counter-productive to the disciple making process.
Protests Divide, They Don’t Unite
If I take up a sign and join a throng of people who are chanting slogans and brandishing symbols of the cause, chances are I am alienating more than a few people to the message of the Gospel. The woman who had an abortion years ago and still struggles with guilt and depression, is she going to see the “Abortion is Murder” placard and feel that grace and forgiveness is available to her? I don’t think so. Rather, she is going to be further marginalized, no matter how much the people in that crowd may want to accept her. When the news shows the protesters chanting and yelling, are the lost going to see that and be attracted to Jesus? No. They will once again know what we are against rather than what we are for, and that does not further the Kingdom of God.
People March Because It is Easier than the Alternative
I honestly believe that most people who participate March for Life are doing it because they think it will make a difference. But I also feel that they do it to salve their conscience about living in a nation that approves of such an atrocious practice. It is their way of saying, “Look what I have done to fight the battle against abortion.” The problem is that abortion is not the battle we are called to fight. We are to wage war against Satan for the souls of men. Like riding a stationary exercise bike, Marching on Washington looks like you are accomplishing something, when in reality you are going nowhere. So why do so many do it? Because it’s easier than the alternative: making disciples. If we Christians would put as much energy into making disciples as we do into fighting causes, we would render the abortion debate irrelevant because of the number of lives changed. This was the result in Acts 19. The church in Ephesus was so effective at making disciples they were putting the idol-makers out of business! Likewise, if the Church in America would focus on disciple-making we could stop the bloody churning of the abortion mills.
Ways to Make a Difference
Please understand that I am not saying we don’t speak out against abortion. I am saying we must do so in a way that does not limit the effectiveness of the Gospel. If you are like me, and want to make a difference, consider the following alternatives.
- Volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. These centers do more to save lives every day than any annual protest march could ever do. In these centers one on one contact occurs, which is the best way to plant a seed of hope and forgiveness in a scared young woman’s heart.
- Support Christian Counselors. These men and women are the unsung heroes of the battle for life. Get to know the Christian counselors in your area. Ask for ways you can help or pray for them, and, if you are in a position to do so, recommend them to those who have tough choices ahead of them.
- Be a listening ear. If someone comes to you who is contemplating an abortion, be gracious and listen before you speak. The knee-jerk reaction might be to heap on her every pro-life statistic known to man, but chances are, she just needs someone to listen to and comfort her. Make sure you comfort as well as point her towards life.
- Practice Grace. There are many women (and men too) who are haunted by the silent cries of unborn, aborted babies. Studies show that most women who had abortions struggle with guilt and depression because of their decision. The last thing these women need is someone to judge them. What they need is a picture of grace and forgiveness, and you may be exactly that.
- Don’t be Silent. Just because I don’t march on Washington does not mean that I keep my opinion to myself. But there is a difference in shouting it from a mob of people and sitting down with someone and having a civil discussion. Voice your opinion. Stand strong on the Biblical principle that all human life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. Show the world that people are important to God, and that is what makes abortion such a tragedy.
- Pray for Our Leaders. I do believe that people in positions of authority can influence this issue. We need to pray for our leaders. Pray that they gain wisdom and have the boldness to do what is right. It s easy for us to point a finger and blame them for our problems. What is difficult is to pray for them and love them, even if we vehemently disagree with them. Yet praying for them is not an option for us as Christians, it is a Biblical mandate.
- Make Disciples. God’s crazy plan for the Church is to change one life at a time through discipleship. Let’s focus on Jesus, the cross, and the grace He offers to man. Then we will begin to make the biggest difference of all!