Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Lord's Work

My life seems a whirlpool;
a tempest of terrible torrents
which assails my senses
and assaults my soul.

In wondering amazement
I turn with jarring twists
and stumble onto pastures green
I would otherwise not see.

copyright ©2011 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Protecting the Weak and Exploited

“You can’t legislate morality.” My friend stated it as if it was a well accepted fact. “I believe that abortion is wrong, but it should not be made illegal… Women will have abortions and we should make it safe… creating laws is an attempt to control people… creating a law against abortion is controlling and judgmental.”

Where to begin? First, this is NO condemnation against the woman who found herself in the situation where abortion seemed the best option and chose that option. I do not condemn you or your decision. Life is hard and God, your Father, loves you and wants to stay in relationship with you.  He wants to wash away your sorrows, and He has a plan to bring good from every situation. When we draw close to Him, we start to join Him in that plan for our lives.

So while my friend and I both desire God’s goodness in the lives of ourselves and others, we have not been able to agree on how we should join Him in His work with respect to abortion. Now, my friend would say that the Bible doesn’t explicitly speak about abortion and therefore the discussion belongs outside of spiritual conversations. And I would respond that God speaks about the unborn as a person for whom He has a plan… a human life. (Psalm 139:13-16) If God sees an unborn baby as a person, a Bible believing Christian should understand that the fetus is a human life that’s worth protecting.

But my friend might ask if it’s really a life when it can’t live on its own? And I would ask as the father of five: when is child able to live on its own? At birth? What would happen to my 5 year old if I set him out on the street to make a life for himself? What about my older kids? My grandfather was turned out on the street at a young age when his father re-married, and it really messed with my grandfather. No, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1) So maybe the Bible doesn’t use the word “abortion”, but the principals are clear.

So to my friend’s statement, I have to say: all laws reflect morality. We make illegal that which we believe is wrong. We create and enforce laws that we believe are in the best interest of society, and we seek to protect society’s weak from the immoral strong. We make laws that reflect our values.

I value both life for babies as well as the quality of life for mothers. I value both the woman and child whose lives were either ended or degraded by abortion. I heard a statistic that 95% of women who’ve had an abortion suffer with depression.   I decided to do a search, but couldn’t find anything that truly supported that statistic. What I did find was an abstract from the British Journal of Psychiatry citing a study of 877,181 women. The research discovered an 81% increased risk of mental health issues for women who experienced an abortion. (http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/199/3/180.abstract) Abortion is a health hazard to the mother that impacts her quality of life more than any socio-economic pressure ever could.

Yet my friend insists that women will continue to have abortions and for that reason we should make abortion a safe procedure. And I would ask him how he defines safe… safe for whom? Is it safe for the woman who is likely to struggle with mental health issues? Is that safe?

“But Jesus never got involved in political affairs… and I don’t think Christians should either!” was how my friend responded. And this is where I confess I felt both dismayed and disappointed because this is the response of too many Christians right now. We are so afraid of being labeled as “controlling” that we fail to live in the authority of our calling. As voters, we have been granted the authority to participate in the legal process. We have both the responsibility and the privilege to direct the hand of our government, which has been established by God as His agent for justice. (Romans 13:1-7) As voters, we participate in the governing process. So if it’s “controlling” to exercise the authority of our position, let me ask: is it appropriate to physically restrain my 5 year old from running into a busy intersection? Wouldn’t it be irresponsible and cowardly for me to withhold my control for fear of being accused as “controlling”? With God’s help, I will save my 5 year-old’s life even if I am labeled negatively. We have a role to play, and we will either play that role well or we’ll play it poorly.

It’s time for the Body of Christ to bring kingdom values into the workplace, the political spectrum, and the neighborhood… but not just because some “pastor” tells them what to do. It’s time for the Body to be mature enough to seek God’s will, trust Him for the outcome, and obey His calling. If we are in the position to rule, whether it’s through a vote or a vocational position, we are called to rule our area in a way that reflects God’s values. When we pray “Thy will be done, Thy Kingdom come” we are asking for His rule in our lives, and through our obedience, we bring His rule into the world around us. As believers, we should value what God values, and those values should be reflected in both how we live our lives as well as how we influence the world around us. As Christ’s representatives in this world, we need to follow the example of William Wilberforce, courageously acknowledging our responsibility to drive legislation that protects the weak or misguided.

We are called to speak the truth in love. We are called to love our neighbor. It’s so much easier to be “nice”, avoiding the confrontation. But love is hard. It requires sacrifice. It requires a willingness to walk through a conflict… to do what’s in another’s best interest even when they don’t want our help and when we don’t feel like doing it. It’s foolishness in the eyes of the world, but real love isn’t always “nice”. In fact, it isn’t always appreciated and it’s often mocked. But this is the highest form of love, Agape love, the perfect love of Jesus that we are called to reflect.

So my friend and I parted. We’re still friends, and I don’t doubt his love for Jesus or his desire to do what’s right, but I know I’m called to be loving, rather than nice. If I can be both, that’s preferable, but speaking the truth in love means I can’t be quiet. So whether I’m joined by a multitude or remain a small and solitary voice: abortion is wrong… it wounds the mother… it kills the child… it should be made illegal. And I will continue to vote with that perspective.

copyright ©2011 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)