Pro-Life Doesn’t End With Birth

Painting_Lhermitte-Les_Glaneuses-1898When abortion advocates first started down the road to change society’s view on the subject, they framed the issue by identifying themselves as Pro-Choice and “the other side” as Anti-Abortion. Some in the media still use the latter designation, but those in opposition to killing the least, most helpless, voiceless people—the unborn—prefer to be known as Pro-Life.

But yesterday I read an article that poignantly reminded us that Pro-Life ought not end with ensuring a baby’s birth. God’s heart, as He says over and over in the Bible, is for orphans and widows and strangers. In the Mosaic Law, He made provision for those people so that they wouldn’t be tossed aside. The principle was this: in that agrarian society those who worked their field were not to meticulously harvest every last grain or olive or grape. They should reap their field, but not go over it a second time so that whatever they missed, the widows, the orphans, the strangers could harvest for themselves—an undertaking called gleaning.

So before the people of Israel arrived in the Promised Land, God had in place a plan to provide for the people some today call throw-away people.

Unfortunately, God’s people don’t always reflect God’s heart. The article I read detailed an encounter a mom had in the grocery store. Mind you, she’s a foster mom as well as a mom to her own sons. She had her hands full. Her husband, who was with her, saw someone he knew, so got caught up talking. The mom decided to proceed to the check out. Here’s how things went:

The 7 month old I was holding got hungry and started clawing at my shirt trying to nurse. The 1.5 year old tried to grab candy that I wouldn’t let her have and starting wailing. (No, she is not spoiled. Sometimes, 1.5 year olds cry loudly. I promise that sometimes, regardless of how awesome a parent you are, they just do.) The 2.5 year old was trying to help his 6 & 8-year-old brothers put the groceries on the belt, and of course, he dropped the container of blueberries, which spilled all over the floor. To top it all off, I had WIC [The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children] coupons for our foster daughter, and I grabbed the wrong cheese (I swear it was labeled WIC approved!), so the cashier had to call someone to come figure it all out.

OK, pretty much chaos. She apologized to the people in line behind her, but one couple responded in a judgmental way:

The man looked at the woman and said in a voice much too loud, “Some people should stop having kids.”

Yeah, he didn’t know she was a foster mom. Now here’s the kicker. When she got to the parking lot and began loading groceries, she saw the couple get into a car with a Pro-Life bumper sticker on it. Now it’s possible that they bought the car used and the bumper sticker was already in place. Nevertheless, the point is clear: life begins with birth, so those of us advocating for the unborn ought not stop caring when they successfully come into the world.

As I was reading in Deuteronomy this morning about the gleaning laws, it struck me that God included “the aliens” in with the widows and orphans. It seems a little odd at first. But people didn’t buy and sell land back then the way we do today. Especially the Jews. They divvied up the land by drawing lots, and they were to retain those parcels in perpetuity. Should they sell, they actually would be leasing the land because at the Jubilee—every fifty years—the land would revert to the family that had received the parcel when they first arrived.

People from other countries, as I recall, were not part of this process. So they weren’t land owners. The best they could do would be to hire out as a worker for someone else. Or glean someone else’s land.

If God’s people are to have God’s heart, it seems to me we should have as much concern for the orphans—the foster care kids—as we do the unborn. But we should also care for the “aliens.”

This seems especially important at a time when we seem to be flooded with “aliens,” including a host of illegal aliens. And now, potentially, aliens from a strange land that may harbor enemies who wish us harm. I’m referring, of course, to the Syrian refugees our government is making arrangements to bring to America.

Some US citizens, including some Christians, complain. Why don’t they go to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or United Arab Emirates? I’ve asked the same question. After all, we have our own immigration issues to sort out. Why bring in more people when we haven’t figured out how we’re to handle the influx of immigrants we already have?

But I wonder if these questions reflect the heart of God. I suspect not because here’s what God actually said in Scripture:

He [the LORD God] executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deut. 26:18-19)

Later Moses instructed the priests in a rite to remind the people of God’s commands when they arrived in the land. First the priest would tell the people what God had said, then the people would respond. The first on the list were familiar, don’t make any idols, honor your father and your mother, but then tucked in behind Don’t mislead a blind person, is the command involving aliens:

‘Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ (Deut. 27:19)

If we look into the New Testament, we see Jesus commanding others to love their neighbors. And then the lawyer who had prompted Jesus’s statement asked a question designed to let him wiggle off the hook: who is my neighbor? Jesus responded by telling a story about a stranger. He didn’t cast the stranger as the one in need of help, however. He made him the hero of the story. The guy who acted like a neighbor was the hated stranger who put his prejudices aside to help someone in need.

That’s God’s heart. He cares about people. He makes it clear in Paul’s letters that those who follow Him are equal in His eyes.

So here’s the thing I realized this morning. In some of these places in the Middle East, it’s been next to impossible to preach the gospel. But as Syrian refugees stream into the West, they have the chance of hearing about Jesus, perhaps for the first time. We might not be able to go to the mission field, but God is bringing the mission field to us.

What a great opportunity for all of us who are Pro-Life!

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Published in: on September 24, 2015 at 6:23 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. Hey Becky

    I am so glad you wrote that, as something like that has been on my mind for weeks and weeks, but this sort of writing is really not my style, so you put some of what I was thinking into words.

    I am so, so, and more so pro life. All case, all the time. On the other hand, some people simply cannot have and support a child. Ok maybe they did it as a result of being irresponsible, maybe they did it as a result of immorality. All those things may be true. It is also true that none of that is that baby’s fault.

    How many of us would be willing to put our pro life money where our pro life mouth is? Here would my my question to those, including me, who consider abortion the crime of the century:

    How many babies would YOU adopt to save them?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well said, Becky. Bringing the mission field to us, I like that wording and the idea behind it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Amen, Becky! I have had similar thoughts. It hurts me to hear Christians acting so unlike the God they claim to serve. Love should be our first thought and our first action.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok, I get the point you are making, and I totally agree with it. BUT…..honestly it is so discouraging for those of us in the pro-life trenches to constantly be told that you “should” be not only advocating for the defenceless and vulnerable among us (which, by the way, is an extremely thankless job, including within the church) but you must ALSO be doing x, y, and z to be completely “acceptable” as pro-life. First of all, the vast majority of pro-life people I know (and trust me, I know a lot. I have been actively involved in the pro-life movement for more than 25 years on both the local, provincial and national level) are some of the most compassionate people I know. Many of them ARE foster parents, adoptive parents, help out in crisis pregnancy centres, support single moms, etc etc etc on top of the work they do in the pro-life movement. But having said that, what other advocacy group is constantly told that their scope of activity isn’t wide enough, that they have to do a bunch of other things if they were “really” caring about their issue. Do those who advocate for cancer victims have to go out and become doctors before they are accepted as being worthy of standing up for cancer victims? Do those who advocate for the homeless have to build houses or house homeless people before they can “truly” be seen as worthy of caring about that issue? The reality is that the pro-life movement is woefully under financed and under-supported. So, when people tell me that if I was REALLY pro-life I wouldn’t just spend so much time being the voice for those who have no voice, but should also be a foster mother, adopt a child, take in a woman in a crisis pregnancy, advocate for more support for pregnant women, etc etc ETC then I say to them, “Sure. I’d be able to do that if you will help ME with the work of pro-life. Then I will have time and energy to spare to do all that stuff too.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • L.A. I’m pretty sure you aren’t the target audience of that woman’s article. She herself was a foster mom and that’s how she expressed her pro-life position. What she was upset about was someone slapping a bumper sticker on their car, and then acting in an unloving way toward what they perceived to be a woman who had many children she hadn’t aborted. I don’t know if you read her entire article or just the excerpts I quoted, but I can assure you, she was not heaping guilt on those advocating for life who are in the trenches.

      In my article, I went with that premise and drew it to a logical conclusion about our attitude toward ANY people, particularly immigrants. Attitude, being the key word.

      We aren’t all in a position to help the homeless, advocate for the unborn, stand for the concept of Biblical marriage, go on mission trips, send money to the refugees . . . ad infinitum. But when we open our mouths (or paste a bumper sticker on our cars), we ought to be aware of what we’re actually saying. If we say we’re Pro-Life, then we ought to act as if life matters.

      Since you clearly do act like life matters, then you already get it. I’m happy for your example!

      Becky

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  5. Yes, I agree with you on that, Becky! I guess I’m just a little tender towards that whole attitude I see so OFTEN expressed towards pro-lifers…I suppose that “tenderness” came out in my post. Not meaning to rant, sorry if it came across like one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem, LA. I can see why you’d feel that way, but truly it’s the pro-lifers in name only who need to hear the chastisement, not those on the front lines in whatever capacity. Feel free to rant here any time! A good rant now and them makes us all think. 😉

      Becky

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