Let it Rise.

IMG_6024I was chatting with a friend the other day about abortion- specifically those videos that go around on Facebook. She was feeling tremendously frustrated because while these videos will make all of us cry and feel angry, they seem to make pro-choice people simply dig their heels in.  The complete blindness to the obvious personhood of babies can be horrifyingly frustrating. Knowing that she and I are not the only two Christian women who find this whole issue overwhelming and frustrating, I thought I’d share with you all some of the things that have helped me process it.

First of all, and this can not be overemphasized, the whole discussion is not about arguments. The world does not need one really good argument, but it really does need good news. They do not need new evidence for the personhood of the unborn, they need new hearts. They do not need to see the baby as it is, they need to not be blinded by sin. So while it is not pointless to be sharing these things – the reason that it is important is because it is important to be declaring the Gospel. One part of the Gospel is the reality and depth of our sin. One part of the Gospel is the freedom of forgiveness. One part of the Gospel is transformation of darkness to light, hopelessness to hope, sorrow to laughter, filth to righteousness. So in as much as these things are declaring some part or all of this – they are a Gospel declaration and well worth doing. And they may very well fall on deaf ears – but it isn’t an intellectual argument. The argument isn’t for the ears, it is asking God to move in hearts. God tells us to declare His word, His gospel, His son – and when we do  He uses that on the hearts of those who hear. It is His ordained means of saving people, and it is different than the means we would have chosen.

Sometimes we chafe against God’s means. We are like the Jews who wanted Jesus to come riding in like a military hero, and we aren’t satisfied with His method of laying down His own life for us. We want some argument about abortion to go off like a thunderclap with instant results, but that is not how God set this up. He told us to obey, and that faithfulness in our lives is like leaven in the world, and it will work its way out.

It is easy for us to shrug off the work of faithfulness that is closest to us and still feel righteous because we are concentrating on the sin of others – the horrors of abortion can provide a convenient foil. We would rather get indignant about the sins of unbelievers than be indignant about our sin. Maybe we like to think about the big ticket sins in the world because it helps our own besetting sins look smaller. What is a little unkindness towards your children, or disrespect towards your husband, or poor entertainment standards, or envy, or bitterness when there is so much worse happening down the street at the Planned Parenthood?

But sin, any sin, confuses. When we allow sin in our lives, we are allowing blindness in our lives. And we who are children of God are sinning against a greater light. When we fail to submit to God’s word on some issues, we are failing to submit to God altogether. So this is my challenge to all of us who are pro-life. Let us ask God to use our lives in this particular fight. Let’s ask Him to make our obedience a blow against the world’s disobedience in this issue. Ask Him to make our lives a declaration of the Gospel that cannot be quieted. Ask Him to use us like leaven.

And while we are doing that – lets stop and honestly look at our lives. What are the things that have been laid out before us over and over and we have refused to hear? What have we let sin blind us to? What things have we carefully avoided reflecting on? In what areas of our lives are we afraid of the truth? Has there been truth that was inconvenient to us, so we smothered it? Has there been some obedience that we thought would make things harder for us, so we pretended it wasn’t any thing other than a clump of petty sin? Are we angry at women who won’t carry a baby to term because of selfishness, and yet we wield that same selfishness on a smaller scale every day? Are we despising the sins of others while nurturing our own?

The truth is that the Gospel has to change us completely – it has to work through our own lives like leaven. It has to find those spots in our lives that we are trying blindly to keep it out of. And when we have completely yielded to it, it will have nowhere else to go but out.

 

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9 Responses to “Let it Rise.”


  • Thanks, Rachel! This issue is so overwhelming, frustrating, discouraging; your posts help my wanna-be problem-solving find a better focus.

  • The entire essay is spot on, but that last paragraph, especially the last sentence … yes. “…completely yielded …” “…nowhere else to go but out.” What a blessed thought!

  • Thanks for the leavening metaphor…I didn’t really understand that one when I read it in the Bible. Now I get it.

  • What a gift, to take a look at the areas that are blinding us, our sinful habits, or ‘acceptable sins’ which really are decaying our hearts more than we know. Give us truth, rigorous honesty, and the humility to confess to our Lord and our dear ones our mighty failures, as well as our daily lack of love.

    While I appreciated the nature of your message, and agree completely, it seems unfinished. This is not the whole story when it comes to abortion. Us living our lives, striving for godliness, empowered by the Holy Spirit will not make any changes in this war against the innocent and defenseless.

    I don’t think the videos or even pictures do anything but heap guilt and then anger upon women who have done these atrocities to their own offspring. Yet, once we deal with the issues you mentioned in your article, I believe very much we are to fight for the ones without a voice.

    There is a tendency in modern Christianity to pull the ‘well, I’m a sinner, so how can i ever tell anyone what they are doing is wrong?’ If we wait to be completely ‘right’ we will never fight.

    If you do not take up holy arms and fight evil, you create a passive tolerance that rings no pleasure in our mighty Lords ears. Jesus was angry with the sin in the temple place, He said be angry, and sin not. The ‘how to’ in fighting the massacres of unborn babies is big enough material to require it’s own message.

    Final thought, there is danger in becoming so enwrapped in your own sin, that you are unable to deal with the wrong around us. There is a second part, not a contrasting part of your message that I believe is missing.

  • THIS. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I have felt the same way for so long. I’ve worked in the pro-life movement before and felt so much frustration at the exact thing you lay out in the first paragraph.

    “The argument isn’t for the ears, it is asking God to move in hearts.”

    So true.

  • Here’s a true story. I get the prolife articles and videos in my fb news feed. I feel overwhelmed by them sometimes… Often don’t open them. One time I did not really want to, but felt compelled to share a horrific story about nurses reactions to aborted babies born alive… The anguish they felt etc. Long story short, a friend passed my “share” on to his male colleague who had just found out his wife was pregnant with her fifth child. They were overwhelmed and strongly considering abortion. Because of the “share ” they kept their baby. So, God uses many means…

  • Thank you for this. Your posts are so thought-provoking, encouraging, and convicting.

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