The fight continues day in and day out. The issue has divided the government and the country. Ever since Roe v Wade, abortion has stayed at the forefront of many elections. Does the unborn’s right to live carry more weight than the woman’s right to control her own body? Who has any right to say what a woman can or cannot do to her own body? How can someone say the little baby growing in a mother’s womb is anything but a human life, which therefore means abortion is murder? These are just a few issues the debate over abortion tries to answer. When it comes to abortion, the statistics are staggering when you take the time to check them out. They are heartbreaking as well. Yesterday I posted a blog on The Heart of Abortion. The conclusion I submitted is that abortion has two primary power sources, two driving forces: pride and self-centeredness. Abortion would cease to exist if not for those two notions. In yesterday’s post, I referenced this Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” I briefly discussed how this mindset had a huge part in the abortion movement towards being legal. It infiltrated the culture and impacted people around the country because it sounds so good. The heart should be what we follow because how can our own hearts lead us wrong? I have to submit that it truly has led us down the wrong path, a path flowing with the blood of the unborn. The question facing the church is how can we help trigger a shift in culture’s mindset regarding abortion? How can we help culture begin to value life, even when that life might interfere with our lives or our dreams? Is this even possible? Do we bring about this change by standing outside abortion clinics and holding signs showing how much we dislike abortions? Should we only vote for politicians who are pro-life? Should we boycott any company that supports Planned Parenthood? How can we truly make the biggest impact and change the future in this topic? While these ways might seem best, they miss the true heart of the issue which is the human heart. If we begin with finding ways to address the human heart, nothing will change. It will be like putting a Band-Aid on something that requires surgery. Here are a three ways I believe followers of Christ can begin to bring about this transformation in culture and thinking: First and foremost, remember our battle is not against flesh and blood
As Christians, we are constantly reminded our true battle with anything in this world is not a battle against other people, but a battle against Satan and the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Remembering this will help keep us focused on the true battle. Abortion is simply a product of the Spiritual battle waging in the world right now. If we do not face this issue with this in mind, we will simply try to outshout our opponents, which has never been a true manner to bring about lasting change. More importantly, as we remember who our true battle is against, it helps us love people as God does and see people As God sees them. When a soldier is in a battle, they are not easily distracted from their task; they are focused on the battle at hand. We as Christians need to have a soldier mentality and not allow ourselves to be so easily distracted with the things of this world; things we have allowed ourselves to believe are more important than they are. I need help with this mindset and if we are to bring about a shift in the area of abortion, we need to remember we are in a spiritual battle.
Invest in the next generation
If the mindset on abortion is going to change, it will be changed by the next generation. If we do not help the next generation see the value of life and how everyone, even an unwanted or unexpected baby, deserves the right to live, nothing will change. For this investment to happen, the church needs to find ways to reach the next generation with the Gospel. We need to get involved in the lives of young people, especially those outside the church. Once again, this cannot be simply putting up youth centers and hoping they come to us, it means we need to get to them. How do we get to them? Move into their neighborhoods, substitute teach in their schools, or coach youth athletic teams. Simply put, we need to get involved in their lives. Think about it, who will be getting abortions in the future? It isn’t the older generation, it is the next generation. We cannot show people how much we care at a distance. If we want people to know we care, it means reaching out to them, it means going to where they are. That is how we impact a generation. This also means getting involved in the lives of families around us which means we need to step outside our houses and spend time getting to know our neighbors.
The other part of investing in the next generation is helping young people within the church truly understand what it means to live as a follower of Christ. The people who are on the front lines of this issue are the young people in our churches right now, the college students down to the middle school and junior high students, even down to elementary students. Those are the people we need to be investing in and training how to live as disciples of Christ. This means we as parents and the older people in the church need to not only model a life worthy of the Gospel, but find ways to get involved in the lives of the younger people in the church. This means if we are not truly giving everything we have for the sake of the Gospel, the youth in our churches won’t either.
“What one generation tolerates, the next will embrace.”
I saw this quote on Twitter and it fits very well in this situation. If we in the church today tolerate a mindset where church is optional and God’s Word is not taught in the home, the next generation will embrace it and church will become even more optional and time in God’s Word will become more sparse. If we tolerate other things being placed over church and over the Gospel, they will embrace it. For us to truly change the mindset towards abortion in this country we have to start with young people and truly invest in them and helping them see there is value to life and no one is an accident. Everyone has a God-given purpose and everyone is loved by God and God desires a relationship with them; that is the message we need to teach the young people in this country.
Live as missionaries
This is by far the most important of the ways we as Christians can make an impact when it comes to the issue of abortion. Missionaries are known as people who go to a certain country or people group and live among them for the purpose of reaching them with Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything they do from where they live to where they work is based around the purpose of sharing the Gospel with everyone they can. If we are to bring about a change in this country, we have to live with a missionary mindset. I have a friend who models this mindset perfectly while living within what we would call the “Bible belt.” He and his wife and 3 kids had a nice home in one of the nicer areas of Lynchburg, VA. They attended church, they gave faithfully, they helped in soup kitchens and various ministries in their church, and the husband even helped lead a Bible study for a local mission. However, they weren’t satisfied with simply taking time to go into those communities. They wanted something more impactful. They decided to put rent out their house and move into a rented home in what some people would call a more run down area of Lynchburg. They did this because they realized ministry begins with living among the people you want to reach. We can affect people by going to them at various times, but what brings about lasting change is living among people where you can truly have an impact. This is what Jesus did for us. In John 1:14 it says “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jesus traded the glory of heaven for the dust and dirt of the earth to live among His creation. The church in America needs to remember the mission field is not overseas, it is right here in our country. What I know is my friend’s family is going to be presented with more opportunities to impact those around them because they live among them. If he had simply continued to reach out and go to them on weekends or other times, he would not have the same impact he does right now by living among them. Imagine if Christians began invading the ghettos and the poorest areas of cities? Imagine if every professing Christian got rid of the idea of living comfortably? Where in the Bible does it tell us to strive to live comfortably? Everything I read in the Bible seems to show we are to live radically and uncomfortably.
The church needs to begin finding ways to get into the world instead of waiting for the world to come to us. One of the main reasons America is where it is right now is because we went through a period where instead of going to the world right outside our doorstep, we began to get comfortable in our churches and houses and neighborhoods and waited for the world to come to us. The church was never meant to be this way. The church was meant to be on mission. Churches used to be built right in the middle of a town or city but now you find so many churches in the suburbs. We need to get back into the city in order to impact it.
For the church to bring about a shift in thinking on the topic of abortion, these steps are important ones to be taken. We will not have the impact God placed the church here for if we do not take these steps. If we take Jesus’ mission serious, we have no other choice. However, it all has to start with love. As 1 Corinthians 13 says, love needs to be our motivating factor. Our love for God will lead us to a deeper love for Jesus which will lead us to love people as God loves people resulting in our lives bringing glory to God and us having opportunities to share the Gospel with others. If we truly love people as God loves them, we will gain an audience with them and have opportunities to share the hope we have. We will live lives people notice. Why will they notice us? Because we will be living among them, loving them unconditionally and helping them see how much God loves them through our lives. We will be investing in them though they can do nothing for us in return. As we do this, their hearts will be softened and they will be impacted even if they do not believe in God. The most powerful witness for the Gospel is a life lived completely and fully for Christ because when we live that way, people see no hypocrisy and their hearts are opened through our love. This is truly how we bring about this change in our country. It has to start at the bottom, with loving people where they are, not with simply voting pro-life or trying to outshout our opponents. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share any comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts.