Article Two - Abortion and the Gospel: Love, Guilt & Life Derailed
In the Gospels we see that Jesus knows the truth about our hearts – truth which we often fail to see or admit ourselves. He speaks to us in our vulnerability and isolation. He speaks to us as those guilty of self-rule (Luke 2:17-26; 8:43-48). He speaks to us as people responsible for the care of others. He confronts our rejection of Him, our self-interest, our constant propensity for self-righteousness and our persistent failure to love (Mark 7:14-23).
He also shows us the heart of God. The kingship of God’s Son transforms the way we experience and understand love, guilt and life not turning out the way we wanted it to.
Many people know Jesus’ story about the ‘Good Samaritan’ (Luke 10v25-37). Jesus related this story to a lawyer who, upon being told by Jesus to love his neighbour, asked ‘And who is my neighbour?’ You certainly get the feeling that the lawyer wanted to set limits concerning who he was obliged to love.
In this story it was the ‘unrighteous’, enemy Samaritan who stopped to care for a stranger lying hurt (and vulnerable!) by the road. A priest and a Levite had already passed by, their planned paths taking priority. The heart of God for the helpless does not appear to beat within them.
A foetus can seem like an ‘intimate stranger’. Even though a foetus is formed so intimately between, from and within us, he or she doesn’t look much like us, often has no name or known gender, can’t talk or hug us or help us out. A foetus is also utterly helpless and dependent.
Jesus shows that love in the Kingdom of God does not stop to ask whether a vulnerable person qualifies as my neighbor or what his or her value is relative to mine. Love is not abandoned if it derails our plans. The character of God, and that of His people, is to love, protect and nurture the helpless - who often surprise us. Indeed, to receive the lowly is an expression of receiving Jesus (Luke 9:46-48; Matthew 25:25-40).
Secondly, Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan was designed to make the lawyer feel very uncomfortable.He is not the law keeper he thinks he is.
And the story is designed to make us feel very uncomfortable too. For we must admit that, in our bid to self-rule, we have failed to love those God puts in our way on countless occasions. Much worse, we have failed to love and listen to the God who made us - and who knows and cares for the people we have failed. Even as we may be victims of others’ sin, we also perpetrators.
Jesus pulls no punches about the dreadful seriousness of living for our self-made plans for fulfilment, pushing aside those who interfere, most especially God. According to Jesus, we thoroughly deserve his judgment.
However, Jesus has not passed us by. His love for God’s children is unflinching. He came precisely in order to show compassion on us as we stand helplessly unable to atone for our sin before God’s judgment throne. After telling this story, Jesus continued on a determined journey towards the cross. In his death, he voluntarily paid the price for our self-rule and lifted away our entire burden of guilt. That includes the guilt of abortion. And then Jesus rose from the dead so that we might enjoy the deepest joy, hope and eternal rest under his rule. We have a King who has shown us mercy in our guilty helplessness.
We also have a King who gives us His transforming Spirit so that we can entrust our lives to His loving rule and courageously love the strangers He puts in our way (Romans 8:1-17). The Bible is clear that the life of every person is unconditionally valuable because each bears the image of God (Gen 1:26-27; 9v6). Therefore, we are not at liberty to take away the life of another, no matter how much pain we fear may mark that life or how much it may throw our lives off course. A foetus, like every one of us, is worthy of love simply because he or she has been made by God. We should remember that we were all foetuses once, protected and known by God before anyone else knew of us (Psalm 139v13-16).
Furthermore, in the Kingdom of God, the value of our lives is not found in success, youth, freedom, ability or acceptance by others. Security cannot ultimately be found in savings, jobs, education, birth control or even in particular relationships. We can be considered unsuccessful and unimportant, but nothing will shift the value and care God gives to his precious, adopted children as He conforms us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). We have a King who sympathises with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16), comforts us and works for our good in every life derailment and unexpected turn, loves us unconditionally and will have the last, gracious word over our lives (Romans 8:18-39).
Trust the King
Therefore, as we see abortion legislation passed and hear the statistics, we can weep for the children lost and the devastation to those involved while also taking courage in the rule of our King. Jesus’ Kingdom of righteousness has already begun and will be fully realised when He comes a second time. Abortion does not provide a ‘quick fix’ without consequences. Jesus will judge self-rulers who never admit the sinfulness of ‘terminating’ the vulnerable and who never repent. The sovereign self and its deathly schemes will not have the last word in this world. The true King will. So, now is the time to call on Him in prayer. Now is the time to courageously and compassionately speak His gospel into our community.
Knowing our King, we can boldly share gospel hope with vulnerable women, men and families, and help them protect their unborn babies. Article three will explore some ways to do this.
Robyn is incredibly grateful that God called her into His family at 17. She loves doing life with her husband Andrew and her two girls Guinevere and Julia. She studied at Moore College and the Queensland Theological College where Andrew is Vice Principal. Robyn enjoys chairing the GROW Women’s Conference, sharing the Bible with women, writing on and helping Andrew teach ethics at QTC, and jogging slowly.