“I’m pregnant.” My girlfriend’s words left me in shock.
We sat in the grass at a park on a beautiful spring day, but my feelings didn’t match the setting. I understood her words, but I couldn’t wrap my heart or mind around them. This can’t be right. Surely there’s been some mistake.
In seconds, the shock gave way to fear. As teenagers, we didn’t understand a percentage of the implications we’d later live through, but we immediately knew life would never be the same. My thoughts and our conversation began to race. How could this have happened? Was she sure? What on earth should we do next?
Fearful questions soon led us to despair. We both lived with our parents. How could we be parents? We were both kids. How could we have a child? We knew we didn’t have the maturity to deal with this, and we certainly didn’t have the financial resources to make it work.
Unsure of what to do, our first step was an appointment with a doctor. Here our shock, fear, and despair were confirmed. Then, the doctor offered a way out, a deceptive word of hope: “You know, you could have an abortion.”
How I wish I could now write about our deep commitment to life, of how we rejected the suggestion immediately and boldly blazed a different path. But that’s not what hopeless teenagers do. When you have no options, abortion feels like a solution.
After the Ruling, What Now?
In last week’s 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court found there’s no constitutional right to an abortion. Access will now be determined by each state, with roughly half poised to eliminate or significantly restrict the number of abortions performed within their borders.
Christians on both sides of the aisle should welcome this ruling. Our views on abortion aren’t to be shaped by our politics but by the value God places on life. He made humanity in his image; every human soul possesses unspeakable value, dignity, and worth.
But as we welcome this ruling, we must be measured in our response. Now isn’t the time for the church to beat its chest in celebration of a victory in the culture war. This is a moment for us to step up in love. What might this look like? Here are three suggestions.
1. Disarm with compassion.
As access to abortion becomes more limited, an untold number of women—sometimes supported by partners but typically alone—will find themselves in crisis. In shock, fear, and despair. They’re now without the only option that seemed to offer hope. Let’s be clear: These women are not and have never been the enemy. Our heart toward them must be loving.
Now isn’t the time for the church to beat its chest in celebration of a victory in the culture war. This is a moment for us to step up in love.
The celebratory fanfare of a political culture warrior may make judgmental Christians feel better about themselves, but it does little to help these women. Worse, it may serve to make the church the last place a hurting woman would turn for help.
This is the time to be like Jesus, who is gentle and lowly in heart. Let’s show women in crisis the same compassion Christ has shown to us.
2. Act personally.
Millions of Christians, in America and across the world, work tirelessly and heroically to care for unwanted children, provide for single mothers, and love those in distress. The notion that evangelicals won’t lift a finger to help hurting people has been weaponized to dismiss Christians, but it’s a lie. The world’s poor, sick, vulnerable, marginalized, and displaced receive immeasurable help from believers.
Yet now is not a time for the church to pat itself on the back. Instead, it’s time for us to redouble our efforts.
Reach out to your local pregnancy center. Pray for and encourage those who’ve been on the front lines. Find out about their needs. Increase the amount of money you give, and volunteer to serve. Also, reach out to foster and adoption agencies, consider fostering or adopting yourself, and find ways to offer practical support for families in your church who’ve done so.
Support pro-life ministry like lives depend on it. An army of believers has already taken to the field. Now it’s time for each of us to act.
3. Organize corporately.
Is your church ready to help the hurting in your community? If not, this is the moment to get our houses of worship in order. Put structures for mercy ministry in place so those with needs receive prompt attention and care. Cover rent, buy groceries and diapers, and host events to pamper single moms. Build friendships so no one is left isolated or alone.
Broadcast your desire to help too. Advertise it. Help your community see that your church is the place people should come when they don’t know where else to turn.
The Church at Its Best
A church community that did all these things saved our pregnancy. They saved my daughter’s life. They helped fearful teens become delighted parents. The first time I held my little girl and she stared up into my face, I felt the weight. Though our small gift was only six pounds, her life is a lasting glory.
Though our small gift was only six pounds, her life is a lasting glory.
Years later, our wee girl has grown into a nurse who cares for others. How grateful I am we didn’t follow that doctor’s advice. I still feel shame over how much appeal the offer of an abortion found in my fearful heart. I’m grateful Jesus offered a better path through our families, pastors, and supportive church members. Love came to us through Christ’s body—his ever-so-beautiful church.
My prayer is that’s what we’ll be in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling. The church at its very best. Christ’s compassion embodied for a hurting world.