Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Truth-ly Loving Encounter [Megan]

            The thing about defending the pro-life view is that it’s something you have to always be prepared for, because opportunities present themselves — more times than not — out of the blue.

   Yesterday, it was in a car following lunch with classmates. “Abortion” was spoken, and the assertions began. The first went something like this:  “I already know what I think. It is up to a woman to make that kind of decision, and I’m not going to demonize her for making it.”

            Because I knew this individual to be a professing Christian studying to be a minister, I was surprised to hear that from him.

            My reply was quick, and because I knew him, I felt a little more comfortable making an assertion of my own — thus bearing the burden of proof myself — instead of beginning with a question. I said something to the effect of:  “I agree it’s wrong to demonize someone for making a difficult decision, but I don’t agree that that kind of decision is one that anyone is free to make. The issue is the humanity of the unborn, and it’s wrong to take any human life without justification.”

            He countered with an appeal to his upbringing, a series of tragic circumstances and being passed from foster home to foster home. He said he’d kept up with several individuals he’d grown up with who had been unwanted at birth, and who had fallen into grim realities such as drug and sex trafficking. He then tried to say that such a reality could be avoided with the ability to choose abortion.

            I could have (tactically) asked him to clarify what he meant by this, or (since I’d already set the precedent for the conversation by centering it on the humanity of the unborn), I could have asked what his background and present situations of those he knew had to do with whether or not it’s okay to take a human life. But — again, since I knew him — I felt very comfortable taking a more direct approach. I simply repeated back to him what he said to me.

            Something like:  “Let me see if I understand. You’re saying that on the off chance a child might come into the world unwanted, or might wind up being involved in tragedies like drug and sex trafficking, we should just avoid such possibilities by killing them at the outset?”

            “No! That’s not what I’m saying at all,” was his quick response.

            But instead of explaining, he switched his approach once again, with something like:  “I just think that if Christians are so concerned about saving these unborn children, they should me more open to adoption.”

            Once again, the topic had veered from whether or not the unborn is human. Interestingly enough, such an assertion points to the fact that they are human, and deserving of parents who want them.

            I did not want this man to think I did not consider his background valid and reason to be concerned for children who wind up in such tragic situations. I told him as much. But I couldn’t leave it at that. Let me give my response, then I’ll explain why.

            I said, “I agree with you. Adoption is a good thing that I wish more families would consider. But I don’t really see how that is relevant to our conversation.”

            The conversation ended shortly after, and we parted amicably. I hope, at the very least, he won’t be so quick to assert women’s “right to choose” abortion next time.

            To be in a situation like this — one in which someone brings up something intensely personal and difficult — makes it hard to trudge forward, looking someone in the eye, with the objective truth. If you’re a “soft-hearted” person like me, it’s hard to see anyone frustrated or vulnerable in any way, especially when the subject matter is already uncomfortable for either of you.

            I wanted to speak of what helps me in situations like that. Two words:  truth and love.

            Both truth and love flow directly from God as parts of His nature. But a proper understanding of what that means — the fact that these things deal with God’s nature — shows us that truth and love should not be mathematically expressed when it comes to God. In other words, He is not 50 percent truth, and 50 percent love. He is FULLY both. To say that, however, points to God being 100 percent love and 100 percent truth. That doesn’t make much sense — unless you understand it is, in fact, one of the many paradoxes (two truths that are seemingly contradictory) that make up Christianity and much of reality. Thus, as philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig said, it might be more fitting to say that God is TRULY truth and TRULY love, much in the same way that God’s Kingdom is already here (introduced through Christ, “The kingdom is in you”) and not yet here (thus we are to pray, “Your kingdom come...on earth as it is in Heaven”).

            My point is, pointing out truth to my friend was a greater act of love than letting him continue on in a false reality of inconsistent ideas.

            To see truth and love in “equal” measure, as both flow from God’s character, helps us as Christians to better be like Christ to others. Sometimes revealing truth, even when it’s difficult, is the most loving thing you can do.

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