punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pro-Lifers and Former Abortion Workers Must Be Patient with Each Other

Trending in the media and blogosphere on account of the Gosnell trial and the emergence of investigations into the cruel, ugly face of the late-term abortion industry are several editorials that highlight one of the toughest parts about this movement: it is made up of sinners

Sinners who are working to end abortion, sinners who are post abortive, sinners who used to work in the abortion industry, sinners who are angry about the sin of abortion, sinners who come off as cold and others as judgmental.  Sinners, sinners, sinners, all of us who want desperately for this great sin of abortion to end and nought but the help of God’s grace, and yes other sinners, to help that come about.

As someone who has worked in the pro-life movement now for almost a decade, I believe wholeheartedly in God’s unconditional forgiveness for all sinners, regardless of how scarlet those sins may be, should one be genuinely sorry.

But this last month, some of the articles I read and photos I’ve viewed online, and testimony from abortion workers I’ve heard have absolutely disgusted me.  My stomach has been turned, my heart has been sickened and my faith been taken to a new level of trust in God’s mercy for myself, for others and for our country.

I believe repentance and healing is possible for everyone, but, let me tell you, I had to really, really pray this last month to maintain that belief.  Does that me a bad person? Or just a pro-lifer who needs everyone’s patience as I work towards a conversion within myself to becoming more fully compassionate toward others?

Some reading this might be tempted to label me as deeply and secretly judgmental toward those involved in abortion.  To a certain extent, they wouldn’t be wrong.  I have to pray EVERYDAY about not being judgmental whether it’s over someone’s driving ability or childrearing or eating habits.

Most people, I find, also have to struggle with their general prejudices about many things.  We’re all human.

When it comes to holding prejudices regarding the abortion industry, even unconsciously, keep in mind that we’re talking about a business where sin compounds with sin compounds with more sin and it can genuinely be a shock to the system, even for the most seasoned individual.   And just as many former abortion workers talk about how it was Love that helped them to change their ways, that same Love from the Almighty is what pro-lifers need if they are going “into battle,” so to speak, to change hearts in the abortion industry.

That means that pro-lifers need to experience God’s Love in their own brokenness and sinfulness so they understand how someone can say, “I used to work helping to kill babies, but I have found forgiveness,” or “I killed my children, but I have had found healing and new life in Christ,” and believe such redemption is possible.

Two conversions must always take place for true healing between our camps to occur.  Those involved in the sin of abortion must change their beliefs and repent their involvement in the sin.  The pro-lifer must also convert interiorly and become a truly compassionate, herald of the Gospel if they are to maintain any credibility as Christians at all.

Neither type of conversion or process is easy, and we have got to admit that more often.  Pro-lifers have to understand it might take a lifetime someone to come to regret their role in abortion.  Those who have repented for their abortion-related sins need to be understanding when forgiveness and rejoicing over their conversion doesn’t come like an automatic finger snap to many people ‘on the outside.’

If the comment boxes regarding this topic are any indication of mood then there is one glaring truth out there in the pro-life movement: pro-lifers and former abortion workers, and post abortive individuals must be patient with each other. But I believe that when we are willing to extend that olive branch of patience to one another, then perhaps then the rancor in the comment boxes over whether someone is truly sorry over their past sins, or if someone else is “real” pro-lifer or just an angry, condescending jerk, will cease.    

So let's pray for each other's conversions! Is there any one of us that doesn't need it?

Then maybe we can all catch up to heaven and do a little more of the celebrating over changed hearts, with the Father, who runs to embrace each of us no matter how far away we are.

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