Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor, Ph.D.) will present a series of blogs, dealing with various issues raised in the recent election that showed a deep divide, impacting both society at large and the church. The thoughts presented are processed through the lens of the Radical-Middle (both/and), personal narratives, and pastoral concerns. Your rational feedback is welcomed.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY
It’s Not About Being Pro-Life or Pro-Choice but About Being Consistent
1 John 2:6 (NIV): Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
1 John 4:20: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.
When “Jorge”—originally from Puerto Rico—saw me jogging in Chester Park this December, he was happy to see me, since we hadn’t seen each other for over three years—I had moved away from that neighborhood. As we were chatting, my ears perked up when Jorge, a naturalized citizen who has long retired, said that he voted for Trump, since only a quarter of Hispanics voted for Trump. Seeing my surprised reaction, he added, “I was going to vote for Clinton, until the third debate made me realize that her position could make any abortion legal at any point during a pregnancy.” Then it dawned on me that most foreign-born Hispanics (i.e., immigrants), certainly more religious than the general population, are socially more conservative. About 60 percent of them (PEW Research Center 2014), perhaps still bearing the influence of Catholicism, continue to hold that what’s inside the womb is life.
The best defense for abortion is the consideration for life and health of the mother, which makes up for one to two percent of all the reasons given for abortion. The worst argument for abortion is unwanted pregnancy—meaning, adding a baby will lead to disruption of lifestyle. Once, my heart sank upon being told by my wife that she was pregnant, not long after our third child was born. While I was worrying about the cost and squeezing another person into our tiny house, my wife blurted out “April Fools!” Yes, I guess I sort of know how unwanted pregnancy feels like and that’s no reason to abort the life inside the womb.
I ask this question to Bible-believing Christians: When does life begin? If you say, “after the birth,” then, I fully understand why you support abortion; at least you are consistent, as is Lena Dunham who wishes that she had an abortion to “fight the stigma around the issue.” However, if you agree with the psalmist who declares, “For [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13-14), and yet support abortion, then, you are being greatly inconsistent, for belief that life begins at conception necessarily renders abortion a morally indefensible act. And even if abortion is permitted on account of life and health of the mother, it must meet stringent requirements (like in legal euthanasia), or otherwise not-so-critical medical conditions can readily become a justified ground for taking the life of another human being.
The apostle John’s statements, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did,” and “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar,” simply means that we be consistent—that our belief match our action. How about you? Are you consistent?
Prayer: Dear Lord, I praise You this morning for giving me life, both physical and spiritual. Though, at times, I may be dissatisfied with my life, teach me to be content and thankful, knowing that You gave me this life. Fill me with the Spirit, so that I may always find satisfaction in only You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Judges 10
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read 1 Cor. 4:17 (NIV): For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Cor. 10:23-4: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Questions to Consider
- What was so important to Paul that he sent Timothy to Corinth to inform this to the believers there?
- Apply the answer of question 1 to abortion: In light of that, what is the point of the morning devotional?
- Pro-choice really values women’s right to choose. Based on 1 Cor. 10:23-4, is there something more important than having the power to choose? Choosing between two socks is one thing but over life and death?
- What was so important to Paul was being consistent: he wanted the Corinthian believers to know that his way of life in Christ Jesus was congruent to what he taught publicly in every church.
- The morning devotional wasn’t about whether abortion is wrong per se; it was about being consistent between what you say you believe about the Bible and what you believe about abortion. Be consistent.
- What’s more important than the power to choose is making the right choice, since not every choice is as beneficial or constructive. The choice is made not from the standpoint of what is best for me but in consideration of what is good for others. If you believe that what’s inside the womb is a person, then you need to seek that person’s good, not just yours.
Perhaps, you were angry reading this morning’s devotional or the lunchbreak study. It’s okay. The issue is a volatile one and passion can run high. Before you go to sleep, would you pray that our society would give more consideration to unborn babies than, in some cases, abused animals. I love dogs but none of them ranks higher in God’s sight than humans, which certainly should include the unborn. Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mk. 10:15-6). There is no ontological difference between this child and the unborn. If we really walk as Jesus did, then we would love and bless the unborn. Think about it. Really! And be consistent.