She confided in me because she was desperate. She was struggling, drowning in depression. There were two healthy babies and a loving husband at home, but she was haunted by many things, not the least of which was her past. That teenage boyfriend that she was sure she would marry, the one that talked her into aborting the baby that would have made her a 16 year old mother. And the guilt laid heavy on her soul.
Usually I’m more than willing to add my voice to the den on most any evangelical subject but this is one area that I’ve purposely remained mum about through the years – Abortion. It’s not because I have a deeply hidden personal story of how abortion has directly affected my life. I don’t. So why have I kept my silence for so long? Because of her.
Because the subject is saturated, soaked, and dripping in pain. It may not be painful for me, but it’s bone-deep, soul-achingly painful for many women sitting in pews all across the country. And I’m not willing to be the salt in their wound.
For the record, I’m “pro-life” (if that innocent little phrase could possibly exist without being loaded with politics and hate). But there are ways to help an issue and ways to exasperate it. And I feel like most of what Christians do in their attempts at being pro-life fall squarely into the category of exasperation.
Being part of a rally, holding a sign board, slinging the word “murderers” from the pulpit – It stops nothing and it heals no one. Abortion is one of those issues that needs quiet, thoughtful action – not loud, thoughtless noise. Don’t just stand there – do something. Find a way, an organization, a system to be the loving hands of God to women affected by or considering abortion. Be known by your love.
Because in my experience, most of the people who have followed through on the decision to abort already agree with you. According to this website 43% of women obtaining an abortion identify themselves as Protestant, 27% as Catholic, and 13% of abortion patients describe themselves as born-again or Evangelical Christians. But they’re also most likely young, unmarried, and a terrible combination of both scared and desperate.
So every time you share that tactless, graphic image on facebook and emphasize how disgusting and terrible abortion is, you haunt them. You hurt them. And, let’s face it, you’re probably not facebook friends with people who disagree with you anyway, so what good are you doing, really?
For the love of mercy and goodness, before you hit “share”, think of her. She’s sitting in your church, she goes to your small group. She already agrees with you. If you want to help, help. Find a way to support those who need the education or support system to tackle this decision without the haunting.
Be the salt, but don’t rub it in wounds. Be the light, but don’t shine it in eyes.
And for goodness sake, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
*photo via flickr