Today a topic on my FB page sparked a respectful, yet passionate debate. I’m so glad my new FaceBook friend Bonnie brought it up. I’m also grateful to my friend Vicki for the stats and biblical input. Thank you both.
What if a pregnant woman’s life is in danger and the only way to save her is to abort her unborn child?
When Jon and I were first married, this question came up and I asked him whose life he would save. I’ll never forget the discussion because it was the first time I’d seen my strong young husband/lover with tears in his eyes.
He explained that based on his belief that his relationship with me comes first he said he’d choose to save me and abort our child. I valiantly tried to disagree saying I’d do anything to save my unborn baby even if it meant giving up my life.
He looked at me and said, “Then I’d lose you both.”
Secretly, I hoped God would never ask that of us. I remember thinking, “I’d rather be barren than have to make that decision.”
I was nineteen then. While I don’t believe this is God’s answer to that thought, at 52, I am and always will be a barren woman.
Jon and I talked about the way we might feel if we had to choose to abort our child to save me. We both thought we’d grieve the rest of our lives. We also knew we’d feel terribly guilty. Why guilty? I don’t know. Perhaps we’d always wonder if we’d played God and by-passed a miracle. We believe abortion is wrong – a sin. So if forced by circumstances to commit this sin, we’d need forgiveness. We know without a doubt God would grant it.
As I’ve pondered this devastating possibility over the years, I am still torn. A good mother gives her life for her child right? Wouldn’t it be selfish to save me and not try to save our baby? Or is Jon right and the marriage is to be placed ahead of the child?
Here’s a truth I know: like all other women, who for whatever reason, have chosen abortion, if this had been our experience, I would always be post-abortive. I’d suffer the same sorrows and regret and always wonder who the little one would have been. I’d miss this specific life and this loneliness would not end this side of heaven.
I also know God knows what my motives would be. In the end, like all other humans faced with life and death decisions, we’d have to trust Him to sort it out and grant us the reprieve our guilt would demand.
Here’s the thing I believe about guilt – it’s only effective when it’s a temporary condition that leads to forgiveness. If it lasts past confession and repentance, it’s no longer a tool used to bring us closer to freedom in Christ Jesus – it’s a tool of the devil who is determined to devour that freedom with despair.
Now let’s take this deeper yet. Let’s pretend. . .
-she’s one of my nieces
-she’s going to die and so is the baby if something isn’t done
-she wants to live and she wants her baby, but she can’t have both
-I want them both to live, but we’re all convinced – including her top notch medical team who although they aren’t God are SURE my beloved niece’s life is on the line – if we chose the child everyone loses
-if I choose my niece everyone loses
-I have to decide and we both have to live with it
-she looks at me and says, “Whatever you decide Aunt Joy.”
Lord have mercy on me – I’m going to choose her. Like my husband, if I can save one I will. I’ll grieve the decision my whole life and wonder if I made the right choice, but motivated by a combination of knowledge (the medical team) and my love, I’d pick my niece’s life over losing them both. Together we’d face the feelings and search for peace in the fact that God would know. If I was wrong, God would forgive – even this. Yes, even this.
Some who believe differently than I do try to claim this as a chink in the armor of my faith – that we Christians can do anything we want and we’ll be forgiven.
There is only one unforgiveable sin that will last forever and ever: unbelief in the Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I believe God gave His Son so I could become His daughter. The intentional death of one to save my soul – it’s very personal to me this thing called salvation. Jesus’ self-less act for me. For you. For anyone who believes. The truth of this fact causes my heart to ache with both sorrow and exquisite joy. God made a way. His Name is Jesus. And yes, the abortion issue from any and all angles boils down to this. It is about God. It is always about God. All of it.
Because Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible, I also believe God can use all these decisions for His glory.
So, in my compassion am I becoming too tolerant? No. The compassion is not my own – it is from God. Is this a compromise in my passionately pro-life convictions? No. This side of the abortion isn’t the kind I stand against.
Like the character, Jonica, in my novel Rain Dance (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=joy+dekok) I find myself on a journey. If you dare to walk it with me, you will see what I see when I look inside me – a flawed woman who loves God deeply and wishes she was more like Him. I wouldn’t mind having all the answers, but they are God’s. Some of you will read this and call me a pro-life hypocrite. That’s okay. For me, the calling is about the babies and their mothers both. Even when it comes to mothers who kill their born alive children, I can’t separate them from each other no matter how I try.