A (hopefully) Pastoral Response to a Political Decision
As a general rule, I dislike involving myself in political discussions. I believe that many things are divisive, but none more so than politics. People become very passionate and engaged when issues very important to them are addressed.
If you have not heard, North Dakota recently passed a bill which comes very close to banning abortion.
I am not going to get into the law. Rather I want to get to the heart of the matter.
I have seen your facebook posts. I have heard your opinions. From what I can tell, even within our churches, there are those on both sides of this issue. Some of us are celebrating what we see as a law that honors life. Others of us are mourning what is perceived to be a loss of the rights for women. Rights which have taken centuries to win.
Let us remember that in our culture, as in many other cultures, women are often treated as lower class citizens. That is the truth. Women are either objects to be used for the pleasure of a man, or they are servants without a voice. Much ground has been gained for women, but there are still many ways that they are not free to be everything that God made them to be. There are those who because of political ideology, or their own personal stories have come to believe that the right to choose an abortion is a step out of the long term oppression of women.
Let us remember that human life is important to the creator of life. We human beings are not the creators of life, but rather creatures who must do the very best we can to find our way in a world that is broken. We are not what we should have been, and the world is not what it can be.
Let us remember that every person we interact with in the real world, or on facebook, is more than a name and a profile picture. These are real people with real stories. Many of these stories are full of pain. Every single one of us has places where we go to sooth and numb the pain.
Some of us like control. If I am in charge no one can hurt me.
Some of us prefer sarcasm. If I can be snide and cruel you cannot hurt me.
Some of us like our addictions to games and substances that deaden our ability to feel pain and to feel alive.
We all have stories, and our opinions are often birthed from a combination of truth and error. Not a single one of us is all knowing. Rather each and every one of us needs to be driven to the cross of Jesus. We need help, and we need to love one another.
The moment that your opinion makes you better than another person is the moment you have forgotten the gospel. You need The Cross – you need JESUS. You need JESUS exactly to the same extent that the person across the aisle – whatever their political opinion may be – needs Jesus.
Yes, I do have an opinion. My opinion is rooted in my belief that all of life is sacred. But more important than my opinion is this truth: no matter what, we are broken people in need of a rescuer.
We are called to love Him and to love one another first. This must take priority over convincing each other that we are right.
Whatever happens in the coming months and perhaps years in our state and in our society, the church must realize that we are all broken people searching for a way to love one another no matter the cost, to make our world a better place, and to follow Jesus together.
That will be easier when we do so reminding each other that each one of us needs all the grace we can possibly get.
Please, as you discuss this issue with your neighbors in the community and in your church, remember that love is more important than them coming to believe that you are right.