It’s estimated that more than 2700 abortions happen in the US every day or approximately 2 every second. Since Cecil the Lion died on July 1, 2015 an estimated 5,250,000 babies were murdered in their mother’s womb worldwide. And yet, THIS IS NOT AN ANTI-ABORTION POST. There are innumerable resources for you to learn how to take action against this most damnable practice. Anything I would give you here would be a poor substitute. What this is, hopefully in equal measures, is how not to hate the performers and supporters of abortions and how to go further by befriending them, live a life before the throne of God before their eyes, and share the gospel with them. This, for me, is a nearly impossible struggle. I watched the undercover Planned Parenthood videos that have come out so far in preparation for writing this and to see dead babies, their murder, and the harvesting of their bodies and parts treated so casually and even defended brought about a whirlwind of emotion, none of it positive. I can see why some advocate using physical force to stop abortions from happening (although I absolutely do not). I have a theory, however, that most people value relationship over agreement, kindness over conformity, connection over compliance. It’s why we sill struggle at times as Evangelical Christians to justify such divergent sects as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses to call themselves Christian. Sure there are those that seem to live to segregate, classify, and separate and they often succeed when it comes to worship and ministry, but we still come together when it counts and moreover we live next to each other and work together and play together every day. This holds the key to both not hating and even loving your abortionist neighbor.
First, your abortionist neighbor is not your abortionist neighbor, he or she is simply you neighbor. Just like the baby in the womb is a human and is alive they are human and alive. Just like the baby they have the potential to know God and come into relationship with Him if only they’re given the chance. This knowledge may not make them easier to love, but here’s a news flash, it doesn’t make you or I easier to love either. What will help is applying this knowledge as the impetus to get to know someone different than ourselves.
Familiarity is a magician that is cruel to beauty but kind to ugliness.
Don’t assume you know their “why” behind this particular what, you only know your “why not”. Familiarity will help with this as well. Never ever forget that the line between good and evil that needs to be attended to has on the one side the evil of allowing someone to go to hell apart from God by our inaction and on the other the glory of being used of God to cause another human being to experience life in Christ. This does not happen by standing on a corner with a bullhorn and a sign, although there is a place for that, and it does not happen by hitting people, metaphorically, over the head with a Bible until they submit to belief. It may mean not sharing the gospel with a person for weeks or years of the relationship while the relationship is built. These kinds of seismic paradigm shifts only occur when massive amounts of influence exist between people.
Influence can be manufactured or it can be genuinely built over time. The paradox is that if you go into a relationship with the intent to build influence it’s going to be extremely difficult to do just that. Genuine influence is built almost by accident. When the goal of a relationship is to contribute to the other person’s life in a meaningful way influence building is baked in. So the trick is to actually be real with the other person (everyone, all the time actually) and accept them as they are. Then seek to improve their life through the relationship, for their sake. God is big enough to use less than that to win them so trust Him to do it however long it takes. What I’m calling you to and what God has already called us all to is more than the set of tasks the Church has been giving us our whole lives, it’s a call to a life of service and mission and outreach. It’s spending ten hours in prayer for your non-believing friends for every one you spend sharing the gospel and not just prayers for their soul but prayers for understanding, prayers for revelation for the both of you, prayers of thanksgiving for the opportunity and the struggle, and prayers of invitation to the Holy Spirit to move between you. It is a calling to a life of warfare in which our weapons are kindness, patience, peace, and understanding and our armor is study, fasting, prayer, and community. It is a call to embrace our “enemies” as friends without compromising friendship or faith.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, forto this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9