Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why A Pro-Life Witness Outside Abortion Clinics?

Giving public witness to the sanctity of life in this culture is certainly not easy.  And testifying against the horror that is abortion outside a business where preborn boys and girls are actually killed? Well, that is particularly disheartening, disgusting, and disillusioning.

So why do I do it?  Indeed, why have Claire and I and many of our close friends participated in sidewalk counseling and pro-life witness outside abortion mills for 32 years and counting?  Here are 5 quick reasons.

5) The presence of peaceful, prayerful pro-life advocates outside an abortion clinic has a profound and ongoing effect on those going inside, on the workers, on the people walking or driving by.  It provides multiple and memorable messages regarding the wrongness of abortion, the availability of alternatives, and the offer of forgiveness through Christ’s gospel. 

4) A pro-life witness outside an abortion business insures that men and women – even those who ultimately decide to commit the abortion – will forever remember that someone was there to plead with them, “no, don’t do this.”  They will retain in the memory of their abortion experience that someone was standing up for their child…and for the mother’s spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. That provides a tremendous incentive for repentance, a motivation to seek forgiveness and healing from the God Who delivered His Son to die for mankind’s sins.

3) Being regularly at an abortion clinic and coming face to face with the persons availing themselves of the demonic opportunities for child sacrifice fuels, as nothing else can, one’s zeal and commitment to fight against abortion on all other fronts. Political action?  Spiritual intercession?  Crisis pregnancy work?  Pro-life education?  Chastity campaigns?  Efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood?  Conversion of the arts to provide for effective sanctity of life expressions?  All of these (and more) are powerfully stimulated by being there at the very doors of death, being regularly challenged by what the stakes are in this fight.

2) Pro-lifers outside abortion mills save lives by dissuading people from aborting their children.  Even when they are not aware of their impact, pro-life advocates provide an impressive force for life that changes minds.  Would-be abortion clients are challenged in their conscience and end up driving by.  Even clients inside the place change their minds and leave.  And, among the dozens or hundreds or thousands who drive by and see peaceful protestors who carry pictures of babies and words like “Choose Life” and “Mother and Child: Love Them Both” and “Life: What a Beautiful Choice,” there are countless numbers of people whose consciences are challenged. Do you not expect that the Lord will tend those seeds of winsome truth and that they will not be relevant in future meditations, conversations, and especially when people are pressed by abortion temptations? Oh yes, the presence of pro-life advocates provide illumination and spiritual challenge that goes far beyond what we can imagine.

1) Because my honor as a Christian is at stake.  Where such brazen, violent injustice is occurring, how can I refuse the opportunity to testify against it?  What does it mean to the reputation of the Church (not to mention her sense of moral priority) if children are brutally murdered in our neighborhoods without us raising our voices in principled protest?  How much is our evangelism and discipleship tarnished and weakened if we do not take seriously such charges as Jeremiah 22:3 and Isaiah 1:16-17:  “Thus says the LORD, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.’” And “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Reprove the ruthless. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow.”

Fewer and fewer American Christians bother nowadays to go in front of abortion mills to pray and give pro-life witness. That is an ominous warning of how far we have been co-opted by the world around us.  We have become indifferent, callous, distracted, and cowardly. Nevertheless, the grace of God remains available to us all – grace that forgives and cleanses, grace that yields wisdom and strength, grace that yet can bring personal and cultural revolution.

Our marching orders are quite clear. We read them in the Scriptures already listed. And in others like Psalm 82:3,4: “Vindicate the weak and fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.  Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” And Proverbs 24: 11,12: “Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.” And James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

As I said at the beginning of this column, giving public witness to the sanctity of life in this culture is certainly not easy.  But it remains extremely high in the values expressed by our Lord.

And that’s why, by the grace of God, we continue to do it.