Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Sign That Made Me Sad...

On my way home today, I drove past a billboard in front of a small church that said, "Stop Abortion...  Cast Your Vote For Life."

And I was profoundly sad...  don't get me wrong, I am Pro-Life...  and not just for the unborn child, but for the mother too.  If you've never read the statistics, if you've never heard of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, google it and do some reading...  Abortion doesn't just take the life of an unborn child, it takes the life (emotionally and spiritually) of the mother too.  So I am definitely against abortion.

But sometimes the church sounds so angry...  It rails against abortion, homosexuality...  Ok, I'm stuck, I'm sure there are other things...  but what really seems to stir up trouble are those two topics...  Not gossip...  or adultery...  or addictions... or greed...  or materialism...  or pornography... or, or, or...  They're kind of the two pet issues of the traditionally conservative church (I can say that because I consider myself a part of the traditionally conservative church)...  I just don't like the way we behave sometimes...  ALOT of times...

When I read the gospels, Jesus didn't rail at the same people as we (the church) does today...  He railed at the religious people (Don't believe me? Just read Matthew 23, starting around verse 23...  He called them hypocrites...  blind guides...  hypocrites again...  and again...  whitewashed tombs...  and hypocrites still again.) 

And what did He do for everyone else?  He healed them...  He fed them...  He had compassion on them...  He wept over them...  He forgave them... He loved them...  He gave His very life for them!  In essence, He earned the right to speak into their lives.

Something that a lot of years of parenting finally taught me, you can't change a person's behavior with anger...  by yelling at them... by putting them down...  by bullying them...  And rules without relationship is like a clanging symbol....  it does nothing but annoy...  breed resentment...  foster rebellion...  ultimately it stirs up disdain and hatred.

 Scott and I went with some friends to see Second City, the comedy group.  Not a great experience by any stretch of the imagination...  wouldn't recommend it...  but since we were there, I decided to see what I could learn from it, about the way the world views Christians...  Not a pretty picture!

Now you might be thinking...  Sharla, what would you expect?  And I realize that it's not all us...  But we have to step up and take responsibility for some of it...  Because too often we are trying to force 'rules' on people without loving them and building relationships with them.

Jesus said to the Pharisees (the religious people), "You tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:  justice and mercy and faithfulness."  (Matthew 23:23)  I wonder if Jesus would have the same words to say to us...  Probably so!

How do we change this culture...  Not by pictures of dead fetuses on signs outside of high schools or on the side of panel trucks or maybe even words on billboards outside of churches.  We change it by loving our neighbor... by friending our children's friends so when they get in trouble, maybe we'll be a safe place for them to come.

My friend Janine who (with her husband) runs Heart For Africa in Swaziland set a beautiful example of how to stop abortion...  A young woman was violently raped at knife point and she became pregnant.  In our country, even if abortion was illegal, some would say it's ok in that circumstance.  I probably would have too, until Janine taught me something different.

She came alongside this woman...  She loved her...  She didn't preach to her about the sin of abortion or murdering a new born...  She offered her an option... She became friends with her...  She walked a hard path with her... she was there for the birth of the child...  She took the baby in...  That's the kind of love that will change a nation...  Not screaming and yelling and hating people who don't agree with our pet issues.  (Yes, I'm preaching to myself too!)

Janine gave that precious girl an option...  Just curious...  How pro-life are you, really?  It's easy to sit on the sidelines and yell at people...  But would you step in and do what Janine did...  any part of it...  would you walk along side her...  help her financially...  be there at any time to go through the birth with her?  Are we as committed to changing a nation as we say we are?  We've tried signs, yelling, self-righteousness, etc for a really long time and the problems are only getting worse...  Maybe it's time to try something different!


Lori said...

REALLY great post, Sharla!

The enemy has really derailed what our true mission should be, hasn't he? Ugh.

Thanks for sharing your heart...and the heart of our Father.

Jeff said...

Great perspective, Sharla!

Rob C said...

Reading this and realized I was nodding my head in agreement at every paragraph. Amen amen amen. What an amazing post! Thank you!

And you know what else I think about Janine? Even if her new friend had decided to have an abortion or had dumped her baby, I know Janine still would have continued to reach out to her. And that's just what Jesus would have done too, not heaped judgement upon an already emotionally frail woman's head.

Rob C said...

Dangit - this is Kirstin... I think I'm signed into Rob's blogger account! But I bet Rob would have said those things too! :)

sierrasmom said...

Love this Sharla....I too am struggling with this...