How Christians Can (Actually) Combat Abortion
As is likely to be true for some of you, I struggle with how to combat the practice of abortion. To be clear, the scriptures teach that the practice of abortion is sinful on many different levels and as a Christian I take seriously our commands to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Th. 5.22) and to exhort others to do the same (2 Tim. 4.2; Heb. 3.13). But in practical terms I do sometimes struggle to understand how the rubber of my stance against abortion should contact the road of my daily life. What can I actually do about abortion besides simply railing against the sin and elected officials that vote in favor of legalizing the practice? What can I do to combat abortion that is practical, effective, and realistic within my sphere of influence?
This article is written to help us understand what we can actually do in the fight against sin of any type. Many of the things that are described here can and should be applied (in their own way) to other forms of sin. Due to the increased awareness and debate surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States, the steps that are suggested below will be in reference to abortion. This does not mean that I consider the issue of abortion to be of greater or less importance than other sins, nor do I consider those who have chosen to abort a child to be more or less sinful than other people. I simply wish to outline some things the scriptures teach that us to do that combats sin in practical and effective ways.
1. “Abstain from every form of evil.”
This might seem obvious, but the first step in combating abortion is personally refusing to have an abortion, as difficult as that may be. Our convictions are most sorely tested when we are forced to put ourselves on the line in order to defend those convictions. Of course, being a male, I will obviously never be in a position to refuse to have an abortion. I do admit my own limitations in being able to fully comprehend the gravity and difficulty of that decision. But in the case of other forms of sin I do have the choice to engage in those things or to abstain, and often those decisions are very difficult. My influence over others’ decisions to engage in sinful practices is limited at best, but my ability to restrain myself from sin is limited only by my own decisions.
Titus was instructed by Paul in Titus 2.7-8 to “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Combating sin in our lives begins with fighting the battle within ourselves. Our ability to combat the sin that surrounds us is severely undermined when we are unwilling to address those sins within our own lives. A Christian must be willing to put the “money” of their actions where the convictions of their “mouth” is.
2. We must teach our children, our neighbors, and one another.
When it comes to fighting against abortion, merely saying “Abortion is wrong” isn’t going to do much good. Combating the practice of abortion within our sphere of influence is going to require that we teach who we can what the scriptures teach concerning sexual purity, the responsibilities of being a godly parent, the sanctity of life, and other relevant topics. Christian parents (in particular, fathers) are tasked with bringing up their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6.4). Are we teaching our children WHY having an abortion is wrong, according to the scriptures? Show our children how the unborn John the Baptist “leaped for joy” (Luke 1.44) when Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary. Highlight how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God within our mother’s wombs from the very moment of our conception (Ps. 139.13-16). Note how God defended the unborn under the Law and required “life for life, eye for eye” from those who injured or killed unborn children (Exodus 21.22-25).
Teaching others what God has revealed to us in the scriptures has always been vital in the fight against sin. It is at the point when “people will not endure sound teaching” (2 Timothy 4.3) that people will turn away from the truth “and wander off into myths” (v.4). To combat this, Paul instructs Timothy in v.2: “preach the word…reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”. To do better one must first know better, and the responsibility of showing people within our sphere of influence that better way falls squarely upon our shoulders.
3. Love Mothers Before and After Abortions
One of the most important ways we can combat the practice of abortion is in expressing and showing our love to young women who become pregnant out of wedlock. Sinful sexual relationships outside of marriage often result in unplanned pregnancies, and we as Christians must be careful that we do not shun young women who are in these difficult situations. Rather, in love and compassion we must earnestly seek for the salvation of their souls through repentance and forgiveness according to the gospel. Showing our love and support for a young woman in a difficult situation can go a long way towards that mother’s decision to keep her child.
We must also be willing to show compassion towards women who have already undergone abortions. Our God is merciful and gracious to forgive anyone who comes to him through faith, and we must exhibit that same mercy and grace in our dealings with anyone who has made that decision. 1 John 1.9 tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. All unrighteousness means ALL unrighteousness. Remember, if we are unwilling to forgive, we hinder our own ability to be forgiven as well! “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6.14-15)
As Christians, we’re to love sinners and hate sin. We must take care that in our expressed hatred of sin we do not express hatred for sinners in the process. There is much we can do to combat sin in our lives that is practical and realistic, while at the same time being effective. Let us fight against abortion as we would against all other forms of sin, and let our lights shine on the darkness wherever we are. There are people out in that darkness who are looking for a light. Show it to them.