Allow me to explain. At one time, the Apostle Paul was convinced he could best serve his community and his God by ridding the world of an unwanted people group. He zealously volunteered his time to help systematically identify and subsequently eliminate a serious threat to his culture’s advancement– namely a crazed group of religious fanatics called Christians.
Like abortion clinic escorts, Paul was not directly responsible for the imprisonment or killing of Christians; rather all he did was ensure they made it to the doorsteps of the people who’d finish the job. Every one of his “escort” endeavors was sanctioned by his government, applauded by his religious leaders, and encouraged by his peers.
But it was still horrifically wrong.
Later in life, Paul would look back on this time with severe regret. He would refer to himself as “the worst of sinners,” “a violent man,” guilty of “persecuting the church” and he would completely repent of these actions. So why the radical shift?
The radical shift came when Paul had an encounter with the one, true God he’d never met before. He thought he knew Him. After all, think of the countless hours Paul spent studying and teaching what he thought God’s Bible said. Or consider how he traveled long distances to find these offenders and protect God’s church from the harassment of pushy Christ-followers. Inevitably, Paul thought he was preserving God’s teachings by quelling the offensive preaching and degrading message of the obnoxious Christian club.
Surely Paul expected a pat on the back from God for all his hard efforts and consistent commitment to the cause. He thought he had served God well and there was a prison full of Christians to prove it. During his time, Paul (then known as Saul) was indeed the ultimate of escorts having earned a reputation so widespread that all the opposition knew him by name. But how was this famed escort greeted by the God he thought he served?
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now go up… and you will be told what you must do.”
Every abortion clinic escort that you meet thinks they are doing the right thing. Regardless of their varying motivations, all hold a conviction that helping with abortions is the best thing for them to do. They too will feel the shock of the apostle Paul who, having dedicated his life to a single cause learned in a single phrase it was all for naught. It must have absolutely shattered him to realize not only was he wrong, but he’d fought with all his might to oppose those who had it right.
In the most unexpected of plot twists, God decided He wanted to save this elite escort and have Saul work for Him. To do that, God miraculously confronted Saul with the same truth that had previously just riled him up. He saw that Jesus Christ wasn’t simply some heretical fad, but the Son of God Who came to fulfill God’s plan and save His people from their sins. All the trite pushy sayings he once found offensive finally sank in.
Saul was wrong. He was raging against God. And he needed to humbly follow this Jesus Who for some reason wanted to bear his punishment for him.
Once Saul actually encountered the almighty Jesus, he realized Christ was worth getting fanatical about. Saul became Paul and joined hands with those crazy Christians he thought he couldn’t stand. Let us remember that the man who once “breathed murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” was also the man God decided would be “[His] chosen instrument to proclaim [His] name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
Who knows the plans God has for the volunteer escorts outside our local abortion clinics! Let us pray for Him to once again glorify Himself with an escort’s radical and genuine conversion. And let us purposely use our interactions with escorts to this end!
If our God can remove the blinders from Paul’s eyes, let us request and expect Him to do that again!