Jeffrey L. Samelson
Imagine that in the news today you hear newly released numbers of casualties from a civil war being fought in a foreign nation. You are shocked to learn that more than 900,000 people were killed in just the last year—almost one out of every five people. Since the war began, almost 60 million lost their lives. How would you respond?
With a “little war” killing only hundreds or thousands, you might easily say, “Well, that’s their business, not ours.” But with numbers like these—even if it were only about 100,000 in the last year—you would likely say, “Something must be done! This can’t continue!” You and other citizens might pressure your government to intervene—to do whatever it takes—and to do it quickly to stop the senseless deaths. As a Christian, you would pray earnestly for an end to the killing, recognizing that God’s heart is broken by that evil even more than yours. You would seek other ways that you could help. You might even get your church involved, sharing God’s love and concern together as his family.
Another option might be just to say, “Hey, that’s just life and death in this messed-up world. I’ve got plenty on my mind as it is, and I’m sure that if God cares he doesn’t need me telling him what to do.”
What if those deaths were all happening in your own country?
They are! About 900,000 innocent human lives were snuffed out by abortion in the United States last year—roughly one out of every five pregnancies. And yet many leaders within the Christian church treat it as something that “just is”—a reality to which we simply have to adjust. Some suggest that there is nothing more we can do, and the deaths continue to mount.
Perhaps you too simply conclude there is nothing you can do. Maybe the reason is that you don’t know anyone who’s ever had an abortion, so it’s not really worth your attention. Or perhaps you do know someone close to you who has had an abortion, and so you don’t feel comfortable being “judgy” about it. Or maybe you just don’t want to think about abortion.
Yet what breaks God’s heart should break the hearts of his people. We, as Lutherans, strongly affirm that infants need Baptism because they are sinners. We should understand the tragedy of abortion as well as anyone: It is taking the life of another person. That murder also eliminates that child’s opportunity to gain salvation through Baptism or hearing the gospel. Thank God, then, that Jesus won for us forgiveness on the cross—forgiveness for those who get, perform, or just encourage abortions as well as for those who have become complacent about the mass murder going on around them every day.
With the remission of those sins in Christ and the reminder of what abortion really is, we, as God’s people, find that not caring is not an option. You can get active politically or just speak up among friends. What you choose to do as a citizen is up to you. As Christians, though, we are all compelled to pray and to give witness to the truth with our teaching. We also can take some additional steps. We can volunteer at pregnancy centers, help unwed mothers, and do many other things to try to influence others and to stop the killing. We are God’s salt and light in a sin-darkened world.
Contributing editor Jeffrey Samelson is pastor at Christ, Clarksville, Maryland.
Christian Life Resources is a WELS-related ministry devoted to educating and mobilizing Christians on beginning- and end-of-life issues according to God’s Word. Learn more at christianliferesources.net.
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Author: Jeffrey L. Samelson
Volume 104, Number 9
Issue: September 2017
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