Sunday marks the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision regarding abortion. Many hail this decision as a great equalizer for women, giving them a way out of an unplanned pregnancy equivalent to that of a man, who can simply leave the relationship and shirk responsibility for the child. While this tragic and recurring situation demands attention, the consequences of answering it with legalized abortion have been horrifically staggering. Since the 1973 court decision, over 50 million unborn children have been killed, using any number of brutal methods.
This injustice against the unborn–in the cause of justice for their mothers–has sparked movements filled with vitriolic rhetoric and even lethal violence. This history leaves us as Christians asking how we ought to engage such an issue. And we have no better guide than Jesus’ beatitudes in Matthew 5, which we are currently studying on Sunday mornings.
Jesus, the King, speaks blessings over those who respond to his rule in a particular way. This is not a buffet line of options but multiple descriptions of the same posture: before this glorious and righteous King they embrace their spiritual poverty, they weep over their sins, they do not assert themselves for their own agenda, they are desperate to see God’s justice become the norm on the earth, they give themselves sacrificially for the good of others, they have a single eye for God’s glory, they seek to bring God’s reconciliation into human relationships, and they embrace whatever opposition, even harm, will come to them in these pursuits.
This composite response to the full and final reign of King Jesus informs how we respond to everything from being cut off on the interstate to the reality of 50 million abortions in less than 40 years. While our culture frames abortion as a political issue, our approach must transcend politics (since “in Christ there is neither Republican nor Democrat, conservative nor liberal”) as our ultimate motivation flows from our allegiance to King Jesus.
Such allegiance demands that we engage in the first place. Our experience of coming to Jesus empty handed and being given the full benefits of life under his rule propels us to show mercy toward others–especially the vulnerable unborn–and count their just treatment as more important than food and water. Yet Jesus’ Lordship demands that we carry these pursuits out in his way, not exerting our agenda by violence or with any hint of bitterness. Indeed, we bring into this cause a heart that beats only for the display of God’s glory and that weeps over our own sin. Thus we identify not only with the unborn person being threatened but with the mother contemplating this significant decision. We embrace the pain of her situation even as we call for the right for her child to live.
This Sunday I will be involved in a pro-life rally that seeks to capture these various dynamics in the face of four decades of legalized abortion. I will be speaking on the issue of respecting unborn life while respecting those who oppose our views on this issue. Another speaker will give her testimony of loving post-abortive women. Still another will talk about the fight being waged at the legislative level to protect unborn life. The rally, hosted by Arizona Right to Life, will be held not long after our service. See this flyer for more information.
Whatever issue or situation we face in our day, may we conduct ourselves a way appropriate to the eternal and gracious reign of our crucified and risen Lord.