I have thought much about our conversation today over coffee and in many ways it has troubled me and yet I count that a good thing. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Perhaps I did a poor job of communicating what needed to be said in response to many of your observations. I say that it was a good thing to be troubled because it has forced me to examine our conversation and focus my thoughts, feelings and convictions and to count on the Holy Spirit’s help to do just that. I find it necessary and very helpful at times like these to get my thoughts down on paper in some organized fashion. That is the arena in which I find I am more effective in expressing my heart.
I have decided to use this letter as a means to share my heart with you. I will try to be forthright in my approach but I trust you will not take my comments in any way as a personal attack or criticism. If they can be used by the Holy Spirit to help you see into my heart, then I know whatever the outcome, in the end it will be good for the kingdom of God.
If I heard you correctly, Pastor, you were saying that you respected the fact that I felt very strongly about MY issue but you believed it was important to subordinate MY issue and concern to the purpose of the group prayer session, which was all about building relationships and providing opportunity for the Holy Spirit to reveal His will for this city and this province. You also said that we all bring our agendas and the concerns that keep us busy…yours was your pastorate, mine was the abortion issue.
You suggested that my primary reason for joining with the prayer group should not be to advance my agenda and MY issue. It should not be to integrate MY issue into the group but to build trust and confidence and to deepen ties with other group members. In this way, you said, MY issue would eventually garner attention and support.
You also said that Jesus never addressed the political issues of His day and your suggestion was that we should follow His example. You said that He never spoke out about the Roman oppression and cruelty or the twisted politics of the Jews.
Is this a fair summary of what you were saying? I’m sure it’s not everything you said but I hope I’ve encapsulated it to some fair extent. If so, then I’d like to share with you how I see those things. I’d like to propose a little scenario that I hope will help you to appreciate further my reasons for coming into the setting of the prayer group.
Suppose I had rushed into the prayer meeting and announced that a young boy was being assaulted in the neighbourhood…that it looked like they were going to kill him and that there were too many attackers for me to repulse. Would you say to me, “Whoa, Eric, take it easy. This kind of thing is happening around us all the time. I know it’s an issue with you but we’ve all got issues and concerns. Come on in, sit down and get to know everyone first. Focus on developing a relationship and build up some trust and confidence and that way your issue will get addressed in the right way and at the right time.”
I doubt it very much. I venture to say that everyone would transform immediately into emergency mode and want to fly out of that building looking to save that child. Imagine the outrage, anger and horror that would accompany such news.
But you might protest and say that it’s not the same thing at all, that the two situations are completely different. And I say, In what way? Children, on average three every day, are being assaulted and killed violently in our very city and the attackers are not being held to account or being challenged at all. The blood of these children cries out from the ground to God yet God’s people are immobilized by apathy and skepticism. How can that be? What direct action is being undertaken by God’s people? What is the evidence of even any significant protest? Would you suggest that Christians are not bound to do anything because abortion is legal? In Germany during Hitler’s reign, euthanasia and genocide were also legal. Was it right for Christians to be silent and to do nothing? Today we consider such silence a disgrace and blight upon the name of Christ. Those of the time who behaved like true Christians suffered the loss of their freedom and sometimes their lives as well rather than accept such grave injustice. God help us to be courageous and to be willing to suffer a similar fate for the unborn.
An interesting story is told in Exodus 1 when the king of Egypt, disturbed by the population explosion of the Hebrews, decreed that the boy babies be killed. But in verse 17 we see that “the midwives feared God and did not do as the King of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.” Reading further into the story one can see the great blessings that God poured out upon these courageous midwives because of their actions. The point is that in the face of an unjust law, contrary to God, which demanded the death of little children, they were ready to resist that law and give up their lives if necessary in defense of those children because they feared God more than the law of the land. Would that we Christians of today would be more afraid of God than the laws of our land and put our very lives on the line for God’s little ones who call out to us for help. Yet it is our own inaction which leads to the deaths of these unborn.
Until pastors are transformed by outrage and horror over the day to day holocaust of abortion, and I pray continually that the Holy Spirit will do exactly that, I don’t believe anything will change. I personally pray that every day God will renew my outrage over abortion…the killing in the womb of the most innocent human beings. I pray that every day God will launch me afresh into emergency mode so that I might accomplish significant change in other people’s attitudes and behaviour…change that will result in some little lives being saved. I pray to God that abortion will never degenerate in my heart to just another “issue” of our day, another issue which I can take or leave depending on whether it happens to appeal to me or not. I ask God to never let me forget that abortion is a holocaust of the gravest nature and an emergency of the first magnitude.
Moreover, I feel quite certain, Pastor, that if it were your unborn grandchild that had an appointment with the abortionist’s knife tomorrow morning, the “issue” of abortion would be transformed into an extreme state of emergency for you. You would not have time or mind for a relaxed conversation over coffee about the “issue” of abortion. This is not meant to be a disparaging remark but only to place things in proper perspective as I see and feel them. I have had fathers call me in distress and torment after just discovering that their girlfriend/wife had an appointment to abort their child and could do absolutely nothing to stop it.
As to Jesus’ approach to questions of politics, I’d like to point out that just because the atrocity of abortion has political overtones and ramifications, this does not mean that it cannot be addressed by simple and practical solutions. It’s true that there are powerful lobby groups on both sides but it doesn’t mean that it is primarily a political issue. As we said in our conversation, it is first and foremost a spiritual issue.
And the entire tragedy can be reduced to a much more practical everyday level, one which Jesus addressed very specifically and with great force. Jesus was able to get to the heart of our sinful behaviour and He was able to see our practical failures. He used His parables to strike home. The parable of the Good Samaritan was one such parable.
Here were two individuals who were entrusted with spiritual responsibilities. They were religious leaders but they were too spiritual minded and aloof to see the urgent need of a neighbour who had been assaulted and left for dead. They might have said also that the issue of thievery, violence and roadside bandits is out of control. They might have lamented that no political solutions had been advanced and that too many people were getting hurt and losing all their possessions. Perhaps they too thought that such things were happening because the people were not focused on spiritual solutions. And so they walked away from this man. It took an outcast, a Samaritan, to see it for the simple situation it was…a neighbour in urgent need of rescuing.
Let’s try to see abortion for the simple situation it is…rescuing unborn children from violent assault and murder. What are we willing to do to rescue them?
Pastor, I do not advocate a great political battle on Parliament Hill but rather a quiet revolution through our democratic process by outraged and compassionate Christians. This is what I endeavour to cultivate in my contacts with church leaders and in my efforts to bring a presentation to the various congregations.
I do enjoy the prayer and sharing time and as I said today, I appreciate greatly the opportunity to be part of it; particularly since I do believe in some way known to God I have been called to be a shepherd to the unborn children of our day. I consider myself privileged in other ways to be part of the group because I have been greatly blessed and touched at times by the presence of God during our gatherings. I also believe that at the same time important spiritual relationships are being forged with others present. I do not consider it primarily a duty to attend these meetings. It is a pleasure to which I regularly look forward.
I thank you in advance for taking the time to hear my heart on this subject and please be assured that I value your continued friendship.
In Christ, and for Life.