Abortion is the murder of babies, and it’s wrong, evil and sinful. That’s the obvious biblical truth of the matter of abortion – the ones who abort children, and those who participate, are murderers. I agree with that fact wholeheartedly. I also agree with the basic concept of standing outside of abortion clinics in an attempt to prevent as much murder as possible. That’s a good cause, and as Christians I do believe that’s not only a reasonable, but also a prime place for evangelism. I even consider it cowardice to avoid evangelism, the proclamation Gospel. However…
The overly aggressive, overly emotional, violent, bigoted, excessively passionate, mindlessly zealous, and prideful response to this particular sin by some Christians is so hurtful that there’s no way it can be considered any less than blind rage, which is certainly sin. I see this so often in many of the younger, newly studied Christians who have learned just enough information to be arrogant and convinced of their own understanding, yet they aren’t experienced or seasoned enough to approach the situation with discernment and love. Their version of love is skewed, and they get so charged it seems they believe physically assaulting someone is even a reasonable response if it means saving a life. You see them swell up, justified by their studies and convictions, and hulk out on others without any calm and their ears are shut off. They get so overcharged they perceive any attempt to calm them as a direct challenge or insult. It’s almost as if they are using the cause of abortion as an occasion for the flesh. It almost seems that they have found this aggravation, this cause, this outlet, that they can violently beat to death in some sort of display. I’ve talked to people who I’ve agreed with, and told them I agreed with them, and yet it’s like their ears are off and they are just in some manic, anxious state that prevents them from thinking reasonably.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I am in agreement that the issue is severe and deserves immediate action, but not that kind of action. Not that autopilot action that has it’s mind made up and no calm and gentleness. What’s worse is they take this burden on themselves, and usually become totally obsessed to the point that the issue of abortion consumes them and they are single-minded from that point forward, unable to be truly effective for the Kingdom of God, because they subvert their own evangelism and witness due to this obnoxious, blind, pervasive and aggressive aura that they project to the people around them. As if their new mission in life is no longer to share the love of Christ, but to be a vigilante for Christ who verbally bludgeons and aggressively rebukes anyone who gets near this issue.
It’s not helpful for evangelism, in fact, I believe it is the result of an error in rational thought. It is a malfunction in a mind, that may even have good intentions, but the wire get crossed somehow and they internalize and externalize all the anger, fear, passion, and zeal against this one sin that it shuts them down to the whole world like a drug, and that drug is pride and hatred in the name of a good cause. It’s like they are on this drug, and the high becomes harder and harder to achieve, so they go to more radical and more extreme measures to be as aggressive and as off-putting as possible, and everyone who disagrees or questions them automatically becomes the enemy. The Gospel becomes an afterthought, or a side-issue, that must take a backseat to fighting abortion, but they will never admit that. They can’t see it. If you ask them, they will deny that part. They only see this grand mission and good cause, and for some reason they can’t see that they are being hurtful and sinful – and that’s when the line is crossed. And it is so subtle and so easy to cross that line. A person can be fine one moment, then the next moment they are practically assaulting strangers in the name of “love.” This is what so many people see when they see protesters outside of an abortion clinic. They see those people, those crazy, over-the-top people who are borderline sociopaths with no regard of the people standing right in front of them.
But anyone really paying close attention knows better. When I meet a person for the first time, I want to challenge them with the Gospel and lovingly present to them with Jesus Christ before I bombard them with my anger and passion to stop their sin, whatever that sin may be. Ultimately, starting a fight with a person who hasn’t heard the Gospel is reckless and pointless, because the only person that’s going to stop their faithless actions is Christ. How can a person stop sinning without the Gospel? Imagine all the other sins which also send them to Hell, like lying, stealing, raping and gluttony. When we approach any unsaved persons, we must remember that they are all going to Hell regardless of what sins they are committing.
They are all sinning faithlessly, and sure part of evangelizing is confronting that truth with them, but their needs to be discernment because more important than merely being “right,” is being right and “effective.” It’s not only about telling them the truth, it’s about having empathy and discernment to approach the person as effectively as possible. I remember listening to a very respected professor at the Master’s Seminary describe evangelizing Islamic people, and he said that you couldn’t bring up the deity of Christ right away because the Islamic person would walk away immediately. It took a finesse, and true love and empathy for the person to be communicated first, then he would bring up that subject. It was ineffective and counterproductive to do things that way, and his goal was to be an effective communicator and it requires the other party to listen in order to do that. Scaring them off and being hurtful only turns their ears off too, and then the whole process of communication is shut down on both sides, thereby making evangelism, which requires communication, impossible.
All unsaved persons are in the same boat, whether or not they specifically commit abortion. So the thing I must care about firstly, regardless of what particular sins are being committed, is the person standing right in front of me. I care about the sinner, I care about the lost, and I love them and want to communicate that love to them. If I don’t care about the person committing the abortion, then how can I say I care about the child they want to abort? Therefore, it is extremely important that the first thing I do when I meet any sinner is treat them with that love and give them the Gospel. All the other information I can gather can help me to do that effectively, and with experience we learn how to treat and approach each person in a way that caters to their individual way of understanding. This way I am effective. I can’t say it enough – effective, effective, effective. That’s the goal. I’m not evangelizing just to reach a quota or say I did it, there needs to be an excellence and a finesse that comes from experience. So every time I speak with people I need to be paying attention and trying very hard to gather information and learn about the person standing right in front of me. I need to be growing in wisdom and knowledge and discernment and technique.
I need to have different approaches for different people, because not everyone has the same level of understanding. If I am not sober-minded enough to evaluate and discern the type of person I have standing in front of me, then I’m blind and will potentially destroy the whole communication process because I’m clueless. That’s why we have to understand people, know people, and be effective with people, so that we can successfully communicate the Gospel to them. Of course, we can’t always do that and we won’t always be able to, but that’s the goal and should be the main objective.
I don’t bludgeon people at the Redline Metro Station when I evangelize there, and I won’t bludgeon people outside of the abortion clinic either, because I love them. I truly love them. That means I value them and optimistically believe that God can do His work in them. I have faith. I have trust in the Lord. I have courage to let them speak and get to know them. I have patience to speak to them on behalf of Scripture. Sure, there are all types out there, but so many evangelists or protesters approach every single person with the exact same wordscripts and have no ability to read or discern the people they are engaging. They just swing with their eyes closed and foul it all up in a passionate anger. That seems more like sin to me, a non-excellent mindset that’s oblivious to their surroundings.
I hate abortion. I hate murder. I hate sin, all of it! And I obviously cannot allow my hatred of sin to take up a personal crusade against every particular sin occurring around me, because that would cause me to get into a fight every time I go to the grocery store. I’d be flailing around screaming at the cashier for wearing a scantily clad outfit, then I’d rebuke the guy in the parking lot for being drunk, and then I’d freak out on the lady headed to the abortion clinic. I agree that abortion is one of the worst things in the world, but that’s exactly why it must be handled very carefully and with a heightened level of discernment. They are walking into this place, already emotionally charged, as are you, and pouring fuel and zeal unto that situation is a recipe for failure in communication. Maybe the overtly zealous and loud approach works on some people, and for those people go right ahead and use that method. But that’s one method, and it certainly isn’t the approach that works on most people, so diversify the way you handle people and by all means sacrifice yourself and your pride for love and kindness. Be dynamic! Be selfless! Be engaging! Be straight forward and honest! And most importantly be effective and communicate the Gospel, otherwise you are wasting your time and being hurtful to the body of Christ.
Ask yourself this, “Why should I treat the person committing abortion any less loving than I treat the person who hates God?” They’re both headed to Hell, the only difference is that hating God is a greater crime and every single unsaved person is guilty of not loving God. To love God is the greatest commandment, therefore hating God is the worst sin and all unsaved are guilty of faithlessness. So even if there were some precedent to bludgeon people outside of an abortion clinic, then likewise there’d be just as much urgency to bludgeon every single unsaved person. But thank God we know better than that, and that we have the discernment and ability to EFFECTIVELY communicate to people. We have the wisdom and knowledge to learn and grow and become a SUCCESSFUL tool of the Lord who can optimize our potential to reach others with the Gospel. It takes more love than anything, and more grace and mercy than anything, and more discernment and caring than anything, and more of the Word of God and the truths of Scripture than anything, so go out to the abortion clinics and go out to the grocery store and the mall and everywhere else and prove to those people that you love them, show them you love them, and radically express how deeply you care about them, because that’s how we present the Gospel to unsaved people for the glory of God.