It has been said that at times you can get so far from the forest that you can no longer see the trees. You can become so acquainted with the ‘big picture’ that you forget such a grand painting actually has a definite subject. You can come to miss the human in humanity.
That temptation is a clear and present danger among evangelicals in the pro-life movement. Having fought “abortion” (in the abstract) on the political field for 25+ years, many of us have been lulled into acting like abortion is a mere philosophical construct. We see and speak out against the abortion forest, while being content to remain far away from the trees, anything remotely near or human about it.
But as Paul Ramsey so powerfully reminds us, “A child is not a piece of childhood.” We are not called to stand against abortion on behalf of childhood. Rather we are called to see the child being taken away to death. We must learn to see the abortion fight as patently personal, emotionally intimate, and ethically imminent. We can rage against the machine and shout against the system for a political lifetime (as we should), but if we fail to step into the real flesh and blood of the matter, we become noisy gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Cor 13). We say to our neighbors “be warmed and filled,” but refuse to give them the actual help they need (James 2). Let there be no doubt: the unborn children in your community need you to hate abortion in the abstract. That much is morally required of you. But make no mistake, a mere hatred of evil is not all they need. They need you to step into the forest, and rescue them -with words, with prayers, and ultimately with the initiating and effecting power of the Holy Spirit – from the sure destruction that awaits them within the walls of your local abortion clinic. There are not just children dying in your community. This morning, there is death coming to a child. It is his voice and his silent scream that cries out to the Father for deliverance. It is his death that makes abortion inhumane.
May we all learn how to shudder at that fact.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Victor over death,