Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
“Derek, I am unsure why I chose to write to you but I do not know of anyone else that could comment without making this a political statement…” – Reader
If you have been anywhere near the news over the past few days you know that abortion is the current “hot topic”. It is a subject that consistently stirs passions and brings out strong opinions. People almost never change their minds on abortion, they simply dig in and get louder.
The last time I wrote about this was five years ago. I addressed the subject not because people need to know where I stand or are looking for help to win an argument, but because they want to know how to have a conversation that moves us all forward – together. It turns out my original post was helpful, so here are my thoughts again, tweaked a little for today.
Always a Tragedy:
The most important thing I have to say about this issue is that abortion is always and without exception a tragedy. Regardless of anyone’s stance regarding the right to life, a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, choice, theology, reproduction, medical ethics, personal choice, medical privacy, or a host of other potentially debatable areas, abortion is always tragic.
Not only is abortion tragic, it is also something that nobody – not anywhere along the continuum of staking out a position – wants to see happen. Not ever. We cannot move forward in a conversation unless we can find a starting place where everyone is able to stand on some kind of common ground. And this place – this common ground of acknowledging that abortion is a tragic event nobody wants to see happen – is the place that gives us that opportunity.
If we agree that abortion is tragic, and if we also acknowledge the unalterable fact that abortion will not go away simply because we don’t like it, then maybe we can work more diligently on behalf of a world where the precipitating, the collateral, and the consequent tragedies are less pervasive.
- A world where the abuse of women is no longer tolerated.
- A world where men accept complete responsibility for their role in reproduction and where accountability is a shared privilege.
- A world where relationships are nurtured and commitments are honored.
- A world where intimacy finds its best expressions in the context of family.
- A world where human beings are valued rather than used and discarded.
- A world where children are loved, nurtured, encouraged, provided for and supported.
- A world where we take responsibility for one another, and where we help carry the burden for families who struggle.
- A world where the alternative to abortion is not marginalization, miserable parents, ill-equipped homes, neglect, poverty, abandonment, prejudice, abuse, lack of education, and consignment to a future that perpetuates the cycle.
- A world where we take to heart the words of Jesus: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
I believe the answer to the tragedy is more likely to be found in solutions to the above bullet points than it is in the kind of polarizing, politicized, self-serving, self-righteous, distorted, belligerent behavior and propaganda offered by those who tend to draw the most attention to the ongoing controversy.
- There is one reality that I want everyone to keep in mind when we hear the word abortion: this reality is “Tragedy”.
- There is one value that I pray we all will keep at the core of our agenda moving forward: this value is “Compassion”.
- There is one word I want to see written on the hearts of all parties – especially those who are considering an abortion: this word is “Hope”.
Peace, and I mean peace in every possible configuration – DEREK