“Someone just made a comment on one of my posts, and it is actually a very good suggestion. For each elective abortion you have an arm pulled off (and without anesthesia). You can still live. That’s more respect than your child was given. For both mothers AND fathers who are choosing to be irresponsible and heartless. Murder of innocents should have consequences. And usually does. This would be a reminder a life was taken. It would be a good incentive to use birth control to begin with. And hopefully it would slow down your ability to go make the same stupid choices again. Have another, then You are missing 2….Oh and perhaps after charging you, collecting tax dollars, they can profit from your body parts too.”
The above statement appeared on a Christian’s social media account. In the discussion that followed, it did not get much better. Lots of ‘amens’ and agreement. When it was suggested that while abortion is indeed a sin, but suggesting that people have their arms ripped off is equally a sin, well, let’s just say it degenerated quickly into me somehow defending abortion. I’m not sure how that happened, but it did.
Can we just be honest for a minute? Calling people who choose to have an abortion satanic and demonic Moloch worshiping pagans who deserve to have their arms ripped off is not a terribly effective way to convince anyone that they should consider a different choice, never mind that it is not anything even resembling how the Bible, and the example it presents us in Christ, deals with such things. Don’t misunderstand here. There are hard truths tat need to be spoken, and I would not say otherwise, but the hard truth that those of us who are pro-life need to speak is that abortion is a sin, not that those who are considering an abortion are somehow a more heinous monster than we are.
I am as surprised as anyone that I am going to quote a piece written for Sojourners, as it is not normally a go to for me, but it sums up an idea pretty well:
“It’s easy to get caught up in theorizing about God, but within our everyday lives reality is what matters most to the people around us. Theorizing only becomes important once it becomes relevant and practical and applicable to our lives.”
If you are of a Wesleyan bent theologically, this idea should be recognizable to you as what Wesley called practical divinity. The United Methodist church has this to say on the matter: “Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.” Nothing about the post I quote above has anything to do with that. Not a thing. You do not invite someone to experience God’s grace by insulting them, threatening them, or dehumanizing them.
If you love calling out sin more than you love the sinner, you are doing it wrong. If your answer to a broken world is to contribute to the brokenness by dehumanizing those who sin differently than you do, you are doing it wrong. If you speak on word about sin without including the mercy and grace of God and His desire to restore the sinner, you are doing it wrong. If you love theology more than you love people, then you are doing it wrong. Frankly, if you think that the way to bring an end to wide spread abortion are the laws of this world, you are doing it wrong.
I fervently believe that we, as Christians, have a responsibility to call sin what it is. I believe fervently that the greater responsibility is to do our part in making disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. Our model is Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (questions about the validity of the story aside). The woman was an adulteress. No one, including Jesus, was arguing that point. The point was not condemnation, or even focusing extensively on her sin, the point was that none of her accusers were qualified to throw the first stone, and that the message of Christ was go and sin no more. When talking about abortion, it is far past time that we put down our stones and start loving sinners a whole lot more than we love talking about their sin.