Dear Christian Sisters,
I think we are trying to advance the pro-life movement the wrong way.
Here in the United States, abortion is a political issue.
We vote pro-life,
we proudly post about it on social media,
we put bumper stickers on our cars, and
we complain about Roe v Wade anytime that Planned Parenthood is in the news or during the Women’s March.
Is all that really making a difference? Have you ever converted someone who is pro-choice because of your Facebook posts? (I have not.) Do you even have any Facebook friends who disagree with you? (I do!)
Who Are We Trying to Convince to be Pro-Life?
Let’s stop for a moment and think about who we are trying to convince that abortion is wrong. Perhaps if we really want to reduce the number of abortions, we need to reconsider our audience.
Instead of trying to convince our pro-choice-voting friends, we should convince women that God loves them so much that He doesn’t want the pain of abortion for them. I’m not talking about physical pain: I’m talking about emotional and spiritual pain.
Abortion is not just a political issue. It’s a spiritual issue.
As Christians, we are called to love God (see the Greatest Commandment in Matthew 22:37-38) and to love people (see the second “that’s like it” in Matthew 22:39-40). How well are we loving women who have unwanted pregnancies?
Since women are the ones having the abortion, women are our audience. Men are our secondary audience. Yes, men can pressure women into having an abortion, but ultimately women have the control. And in our American society, women are empowered. Isn’t that what the pro-choice movement says?
Women who consider themselves pro-choice either do not have the saving grace of Christ or do not understand what the Bible says about choosing life. It’s our job to teach them.
The Great Commission
How often do you think about the Great Commission? Perhaps you think about it when your pastor preaches on it or when your church supports a missionary or a short-term mission trip.
Do you remember what the Great Commission says? Some of you just said it in your head from memory. Most of us don’t have it memorized. Here is what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit… (Matthew 28:19)
Most people stop right there. But that’s not all. The Great Commission goes on in verse 20:
…teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:20a)
When I hear the Great Commission, I hear “baptize them” and absolve myself of responsibility because it’s the pastor’s job to baptize, not mine.
But the Great Commission says to make disciples, and that is my responsibility.
Jesus did not say those words to missionaries. He said those words to His disciples. If we are Christ’s disciples, then we are commissioned to make disciples.
Further, we often quote Matthew 28:19 without including verse 20—teach them. For those of you who have it memorized, did you also memorize verse 20?
Our job is not just to go to all nations, not just to make disciples, not just to baptize, but to teach them to observe—follow, do—all that Jesus commanded.
Do we need to “go” to another nation to do the Great Commission? No. We go outside of the U.S. if that’s what the Lord has told us to do, but we stay home if that is what the Lord told us to do. Or as Jill Briscoe said it:
“You go where you’re sent and you stay where you’re put and you give what you’ve got.”
The “nations” that Jesus was talking about in The Great Commission were the ethnic groups other than Israel, that is, the Gentiles—us!
Jesus was telling Jewish believers in Christ (the first Jews for Jesus!) to make disciples out of everyone, baptize them, and teach them all they learned from Him. Not sure you believe me? Check out the definition of “nations”—ethnos—in the original Greek from the Blue Letter Bible.
We here in the United States are full of the nations or ethnic groups that Jesus was talking about. We are the “melting pot” of ethnic groups.
Jesus was saying that salvation through Him is for everyone, not just Israel. We are part of “all nations,” so those of us who are called to stay here are just as much responsible for the Great Commission as those who are called to be missionaries elsewhere (whether short-term or long-term).
So when we get angry about abortion, are we remembering the Great Commission? Or are we just getting hot-under-the-collar about dead babies? Does anger help us win women for Christ?
Perhaps instead of just getting angry, we should think about those women (and the men who got them pregnant) as potential disciples.
“Go and make disciples” of everyone—
even those who are pregnant out of wedlock,
even those who are considering abortion,
even those who have had abortions,
even the men who got the women pregnant,
even men who pressured women into having abortions,
even the babies who are born because the mom chose life—everyone, all nations, all ethnic groups.
Go (don’t sit around doing nothing) and make disciples, baptize them, teach them all Jesus commanded.
Encountering unwed mothers and fathers is an opportunity to show God’s love and to show them how to feel God’s mercy. That’s putting the Great Commission into practical terms.
With the love of Christ,