The Choice

I do not have a uterus. I can never have a baby in said nonexistent uterus (though I hope to help put one in my wife’s someday). I am a man, and I’m writing on abortion. For many of you that is going to be tough to swallow. How can someone who has no idea what it is like, write on such a sensitive subject? Well if you will indulge me I will explain. But for now I will simply say this, I am not anti-woman or woman’s health (heck I married one and I want the best for her). I am simply pro baby. As a Christian male that is what this boils down to for me. If you think that skews my view and that means that I have no business writing this, then that saddens me. It saddens me that you will not hear my viewpoint simply because of who I am or what I believe. There should be an –ism for that. Perhaps sexism or anti-Christianism? Eh that’s neither here nor there. I’ve told you my stance. Now let me tell you why.

***DISCLAIMER: when I talk about abortion, I am not referring to the 1.5% that happens because of rape or incest. Though I have the same view, there are slightly different reasons. Nor am I talking about abortions that undoubtedly save the life of a mother. That is a decision that I would never want any mother and father to have to face. Though the words of John 15:13 ring in my head, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I am brought to tears sitting next to my wife typing and thinking about the what ifs with her.***

When I look at the debate on abortion I see two sides each focusing on two worthy causes. Those that are pro-choice are focused on the woman, and given what she has to go through, that focus is adequately placed. For those who are pro-life, the focus is on the baby itself. Given what it must overcome, that focus is also certainly well placed. So where is the rub? One side claims that because the baby is inside the woman, she gets to decide what to do with it. (Never mind the fact that the father might have a different idea despite that fact it is his child as well.) But think about this. That baby is not part of the woman’s body. It does not take having a uterus to know that. Science says that babies have their own DNA, blood supply, brain, heart, and the list goes on. Science says that. Not a politician, or an activist, or a Christian. Science says that the woman is the host for another life. There is a body inside her body. She is not just one big body. She is two. So who gets to decide what happens to this new life?

When a child is conceived there are four parties involved: the mother, the father (it takes two to tango, and the lack of value placed on fathers is for another post), the child, and God. Three of these parties have the ability to make their voice heard. I imagine that you the reader are smart enough to figure out which three. So yes, that leaves the baby as the only party without a way to give their opinion. Who gets to speak for that child? Who decides if it lives or dies? Is it the mother who had sex and now carries the baby? Is it the father who also had sex yet does not carry the baby? Or is it God, the one who has breathed life into everything, including the DNA of this unborn child? DNA that has existed since that strongest swimmer met the accepting egg. It is God. It is His child, a child that He has entrusted to two of His other children. Their job is to steward that child. Parents are commanded to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (KJV). They are now responsible for the life and wellbeing of that child. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in the bible does God give any parent or guardian the power to decide whether a child lives or dies. Yet somehow we as humans, obsessed with our stupid “rights” have it in our head that we can choose who lives and dies.

New York is a great example of this obsession. It is now legal to abort a child up until the moment it is born. Why? Because “My body my choice,” seems to have been a better tagline than the idea that everyone has the right to, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 1776). Better yet, Jesus describes the value of human life like this, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 (NKJV). Here we have the God of the universe caring for birds in such a way that one might think they were His prized creation. Yet they are not. The value we have as individuals and humans far exceeds them. Our lives are worth way more. Heck the idea that, “All men are created equal,” (Declaration of Independence, 1776) and the thought that we as a nation are telling the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” (Statue of Liberty inscription), are touted time and time again in the debate on immigration. Yet they are nowhere to be found when dealing with the lives at stake within our borders. Every life is worth something. Nevertheless, there are those who do not see it that way. There are those who have decided that they get to decide who lives and dies. In doing this they have set themselves above God. That, my friends, is a dangerous place to be.

As humans we do not have enough wisdom, love, grace, compassion, or any other attribute of God to make decisions of this weight. For those who think we do, or who simply do not believe in God, let me ask you this. Where shall we draw the line? As the years have gone on the line for abortion has been pushed back farther and farther: from never, to first trimester, to second, and now to third. What is next? Postpartum? Oh Chuck that is ridiculous! I know some of you thought that. Now I seem like someone who is now throwing out obscene ideas just get a reaction or get my point across. Am I? Check out what the governor of Virginia said regarding the life of a child. The idea that a mother can give birth, put the baby in a “comfortable” state, and then decide with her physician whether that child lives or dies and if that is best for her “health” is preposterous!

With this concept, conception is certainly not the line and now birth sure isn’t the line. Then where is the line? Because now I see no place it can be drawn. How long does this mother have to decide? 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? All the while this child of God is breathing, living, and feeling. By saying that a mother has the rights to decide if her child lives or dies, we are now treating babies as property. Is that all a baby is now? Is it property whose worth and value we get to set based on whether or not we want it in the moment? Surely not. Surely we are not valuing another human based on what they can or cannot provide for our own lives. Surely we do not keep the babies we want, and throw away the ones we don’t. Yes, the government says that they are the parents’ responsibility until they are 18. Does that mean that a parent is allowed to terminate their child’s life up until that point if they are becoming bad for their “health,” or are no longer valued? While that seems crazy and far-fetched, with each so called “women’s health” bill that is passed we inch closer and closer to that.

Think about this. Everyday there are mothers who give birth to children and that child is immediately taken from them. Child Protective Services has deemed the mother and/or father a danger to the life and wellbeing of that child. Does killing them not fall into that category? If a mother on meth is not fit to make decisions regarding her child, then a mother who wants to kill hers because it is not the right time for her certainly should not be fit to either.

The government is responsible for protecting its people. When God speaks about the value of life, and the mother refuses to listen because of her obsession with choice, the government must step in.   Babies are humans. They are to be treated as humans. Little tiny humans who deserve the best life possible, no matter what. I understand that babies can rock worlds. There was a time in my life when a baby would have been wholly inconvenient, and it almost happened. But that inconvenience is no excuse for murder. A mother is not in charge of the fate of a child. A father is not in charge of the fate of a child. A doctor is not in charge of the fate of a child. The fate of a child rests in the hands of God, the one who has nothing but love and hopes for a great future for another one of His glorious and precious creations.

So next time you are faced with the issue of abortion think about this. Who is this about? Is it truly about the baby? Is it truly about its life? Or is it about something else? Women’s health is a worthy cause. Women’s rights is a worthy cause. The life of each baby in the United States of America is a worthy cause.

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Nine Words or Less, The Unabridged Version 

Man, there are just times in life when I read a Christian cliché and I’ll just sit there and think, “We actually feed ourselves this?” I read one today and it just made me angry: God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. Oh really? Does He? Because I am pretty sure that His strongest soldiers are pretty useless on their own. Was David really that good with a slingshot to kill a dang giant? Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego born with a genetic mutation that made them flame retardant? Oh and I am sure that Daniel used mind tricks and a weird combination of judo and karate to keep the lions at bay. See the problem with many clichés and summaries of Bible verses and passages is that they miss a large portion of a verse’s meaning and the full glory of God’s Word. They can dilute the message in an attempt to simplify it. We try to cram the grandeur and splendor of God into nine words or less, and that isn’t good.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about those who are preaching and/or have the spiritual gift of discernment. There are people whom God has given the gift of interpreting His word so that others may understand it more clearly, and that is absolutely needed. It is ordained by God. What I do struggle with is when we live by the sayings that can be found in the dorm decoration department at a store instead of the word of God. Sure the quote could be super cute and inspirational. Maybe it has an awesome design and applies to life at the moment. But will it apply in 10 years? And if it does how true will it still be? Chances are the answers to those questions won’t be positive.

Condensing the Bible and the concepts of its verses short changes the power and glory of God. Take the quote I used in the beginning: God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. While the intent of the quote might be based on (a heavily misinterpreted reading of) 1 Corinthians 10:13, it misses a key concept. The problem with the cliché is about the strength of us, the soldiers. If it were up to our own strength we would surely fail. We alone cannot conquer sin and death. Only Jesus can and did through His death and resurrection. So these so called “strongest soldiers” would fail in the first battle. The cliché itself lends nothing to the strength of God. Instead it seems as though because we are tough God gives us these tough times or seemingly insurmountable circumstances.

Now if we turn to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we can see the Glory of God and the true meaning of strength during a struggle. Paul talks about asking God (three times) to take away this spiritual thorn that bothers Him. Yet the Lord says no. He responds saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)” Well seems we have a choice. Are we going to think of ourselves as strong soldiers able to stand on our own, or as soldiers with weaknesses and shortcomings in need of the strength of God? We find Paul’s choice in verses 9b-10, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

That is a truth that we need to hang on our walls, share on our pages, and tell people who are struggling through tough times. This full and true version of the power of God glorifies Him when we face trials and overcome them through His strength. We no longer need to be tough soldiers who can weather every storm because we are somehow strong. Instead, we can boast in our own weakness and acknowledge that we don’t know what is going on. We can face the reality that life sucks and will kick us in the mouth no matter how much we try and do the right thing. Heck, we might not have a clue what to do or maybe even what to pray for. Life isn’t abridged or shortened or simplified for anyone. So why should we abridge, shorten, and over simplify the teachings of God? Life is full of times that just really, really suck. The Bible is full of promises and protections that are really, really awesome, written by a God who is really, really faithful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sacrifice the power of God and His promises just so that His teaching can be simple and I can use it as a caption on Instagram. See, when we don’t try to abridge the Bible, the full glory of God shines and He receives the praise and honor. We are then unable to unravel the mysteries, promises, blessings, teachings, and overall magnificence of God.

In 2 Corinthians Paul chooses humility. That’s the honest to goodness truth. Pride wants to say that we are strong and that we can conquer anything. But it takes humility and faith to acknowledge our deep imperfections and failings so that we can allow God to work and to be our strength. Yet we can only know His strength if we read about it, experience it, and truly rely on it. That requires a relationship. Relationships require time and effort. Time and effort make up a commitment. Commitments are not short and are not done with brevity. Clichés are all about brevity.

Often, in times of trouble we turn to the Lord for a quick fix. Maybe read a few verses thinking that they will rock our world, change our lives, and ultimately change us and our situation for the better. Clichés aid with this. They let us escape the true nature of God and put Him where we need Him when we need Him by turning His word into a catchphrase. God desires a relationship. He has laid out verse after verse after verse describing His love for us and his desire for us to love Him and follow Him. His deep love and promises cannot be summarized in quick one liners. The glory of God and His promises do not need to be changed or altered in any way to suddenly make an impact on our life. He wrote them in a certain way, so that they would connect and the lessons and covenants would be unfolded as he designed, so that He might receive the glory and we might fully experience the goodness of His love, mercy, and grace. Our condensing of The Word does not serve His purpose it serves ours: to circumvent what is required to fully understand Him, a relationship and the time it takes.

When we are able to step away from clichés in our walk, it forces us to do two things. First, we actually have to spend time in the word and dig deeper. We find what God really has to say about struggles, successes, dealing with people, and other life conundrums. I mean not all of the answers will be spelled out in a step by step process, but as we read He will reveal Himself to us (Jeremiah 29:13, James 4:8). When we better know what He says, we can have a better understanding of who He is and so be better equipped to discern His will. Then we can actually do His will and give Him the glory.

Second, stepping away from clichés forces us to be intentional when talking with people, believers or not. We can no longer brush over a life struggle or question about God with a generic answer. When someone comes to us seeking help with anything from addiction to doubting God, we are forced to either recall what God has taught us via scripture, or dig to see what He says. Again, a generic answer will no longer work. What will work is a faith that is bold and rooted in truth, God’s whole truth.

In closing I want you to think about this. Think about the last time you tried to describe your favorite movie to someone. How did that go? Were you able to condense a 2, maybe 3, hour movie into a 60 second summary? If so did the person you described it to suddenly just fall in love with the movie just like you? Did your 60 seconds of stumbling over words and trying to describe the plot twist do the movie justice? Now try and put that amazing movie into nine words or less. If an abridged version cannot do a movie justice, then it certainly cannot do the Bible justice.