Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
Abortion; it’s probably one of the most divisive topics there is. Actually, I just checked the meaning of divisive before posting this (just to make sure) and Google actually uses abortion in the example. I think the reason why abortion divides people so much is largely due to the repugnant way that well-meaning Christians respond to it. From scare shacks to protests to yelling about killing babies, nobody is being won to Christ. This is responded to by the world in an equally repugnant manner; including comments like, “Sometimes I want to have an abortion just to spite them!” (Note: that’s a real quote I heard a couple times while I was in college.) I’ve seen both sides of the issue and have tried to stay fairly noncommittal about the topic. I had hoped never to write on abortion, but then the Holy Spirit told me to.
Let me first say that the “They’re killing babies!” has very little effect on people because in early-stage abortions there’s a great debate as to what constitutes life and on top of that, most folk agree that late-term abortions are not ideal. And although “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) is the main argument people use against abortion, it is not the one that God uses. Child death was an issue in ancient Israel too, and it really upset the Lord. While he was accusing Israel of being a bad wife, God stated,
And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols (Ezekiel 16:20-21).
First God called them “your children” but then he changed it to “my children.” This is important language to note because it is usually believers that the Lord refers to his kids; as it is written, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). So the children being sacrificed at that time (and now being aborted) very well may have become members of the Kingdom of Heaven. So really it’s less about the death and more about the total lack of opportunities being afforded. We make mistakes and face choices (like whether or not to accept Christ) but these children (or maybe drops of blood) never got that chance. We’re taking a lifetime of opportunities away from them. What if you hadn’t been given that chance? I suppose that’s why God is so shocked by it. The Lord notes, “They have built the high places in Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal- something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind” (Jeremiah 19:5). Now think about that, God didn’t expect people to sacrifice their children. Yeah, it’s gotta be pretty bad if even the omnipotent Lord is surprised.
Then again, if that child wouldn’t choose Christ as their savior, then their life would have been a waste for them anyway. Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes 6:3-6,
A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man- even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
If someone lives just to please themselves then their life is a waste. So we find that rather than getting bent out of shape about abortion, the focus should still be on salvation. Save the parents and you’re more likely to save the child. Scare or agitate the parents and you may have just signed the baby’s death warrant.
A relationship with Christ takes precedence over all things. If you want to save people, then save them through Jesus’ love and forgiveness. If you want to condemn them (I’m looking at you, “God hates ___” people), then you need to pray and read your Bible more because you clearly don’t get it yet.