While my heart grieves for the children being slaughtered every day, I'm encouraged to see people banding together to protect life. Today there are protests going on at 300 different Planned Parenthood locations in the country. You can click here to find out more, and where one of those protests is taking place nearest to you.
|Walls of Jericho. March. And by the grace of God, they will come down.|
But perhaps you, like me, don't live anywhere near a Planned Parenthood facility. What else can you do? Plenty. In fact, even if you do participate in the protests today, these are things that you can do to make an impact in your own community -- and doing it year-round, not just on protest days. Here are 5 suggestions...
1) Join or volunteer with a pregnancy center in your area.
They used to be called "crisis pregnancy centers" or CPC's. Now they're more commonly known as pregnancy resource centers. There are about 2,500 pregnancy center's in the country. Compare that with 700 Planned Parenthood locations, or 1,800 abortion clinics altogether. That means there are more centers in the U.S. committed to saving the life of a child than there are centers committed to taking the lives of children.
My dad works at one such center that saves about a thousand children per year. That is outstanding. Greater than 95% of the women that walk into his center make a decision to keep their baby. Compare that with the average Planned Parenthood center which aborts about 500 babies per year.
Some Planned Parenthood centers do more abortions, some less. And most pregnancy centers are probably not saving 1,000 children per year. I put those statistics out there just to tell you that there is an amazing missions effort going on right now to save the lives of children, and it's probably happening right there in your community.
At least twenty states provide funding to pregnancy centers. Now, I'm a very small government guy. I don't think the state should be giving money to Planned Parenthood or pregnancy centers. I'm just glad to see there are states that at least recognize the amazing service pregnancy centers provide for a community.
They're often short-staffed, often volunteer, and often people don't even know about them. Even if your community does not have a Planned Parenthood or an abortion clinic, it more likely has a pregnancy center. Get involved in one. If your community doesn't have one (or it has a Catholic one), then start one. Their very mission is an active, ongoing protest against a culture of death, promoting life in Jesus' name.
2) Raise awareness about abortion in your own church.
Promote such pregnancy centers in your church. Let folks know they're out there. Encourage them to support pregnancy centers financially. Do a fund raiser. I believe it is our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at our church that have a baby bottle campaign going on where they collect change in baby bottles, and all the money they collect goes to our local pregnancy center.
That just delights my heart to see children getting involved in protecting the unborn. We absolutely must educate our children about this horrible practice called abortion. Because if we fail to eradicate it during our time, then hopefully they will be able to eradicate it in their generation.
It is not enough that your church only talks about abortion on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Once a year is not enough. I did my very first Sanctity of Human Life Sunday sermon in January of 2014. But folks, I promise you my congregation heard me talking about it well before that. We have to do more than stand on sidewalks in the annual Walk for Life or join protests; all good things, but we must do more. And we must do it inside the walls of our church, too.
If the church had been more diligent in the past to talk about abortion as murder, if we'd not been so worried about "hurting feelings" when we say that, this would not have gone on so long, if it would have ever passed into law at all. People in our churches get abortions. How many lives could have been saved if we had been brave enough to say a word from the pulpit? How much hurt and pain could have truly been avoided?
Speaking of that, here's the third thing you can do...
3) Reach out and minister to those who have been hurt by abortion.
There are those whose lives have been devastated by abortion because our culture communicated to them that they were doing the right thing. So they got an abortion, and now they're suffering with the consequences. My dad can tell you because he's personally counseled those who have had an abortion.
That mother knows exactly when her baby would have been born. And every time that date rolls around, every time the calendar falls on what would have been their child's birth-date, she thinks about it. When the year comes that her child would have been old enough to enter Kindergarten, she thinks about that. Graduating high school, college, getting married...
Abortion creates some serious scar tissue. And it's not just women, it's men, too. It's probably easier for a man to be heartless about this subject than a women. A man can't ever know what it's like to have a child growing inside and then having it ripped out. But there are men who do feel the pain of abortion, realizing that they played a significant role in ending a life.
Those men and women need to know two things: 1) That they've sinned. They've murdered. They do need to know that is what they've done. But 2) they need to know that sin is not beyond the forgiveness and mercy of Christ. Only Jesus can forgive their sin and relieve them of the burden they feel because of their sin. We must reach those who have been hurt by abortion.
4) Care for single mothers in difficult pregnancy situations.
If a single woman has gotten pregnant, I think that it is the church's responsibility, again, to inform her that she has sinned and is in need of the forgiveness and grace of Christ Jesus. But I think in addition to that, the church needs to do everything it can to protect the child that woman is carrying. She needs love, care, and support, and so does her unborn child.
Convincing her that she has sinned might be a discipleship effort. Maybe she won't be so ready to admit that right away. It also needs to be done tenderly. You're thinking about two lives here -- not only hers, but the life of the child she is carrying. She knows, because it is the mindset of our culture, that abortion is an option. You want to take every precaution to be sure she is not going to choose that option.
Show her that she has sinned, but be tender with how you do this. This will require the work of the older women in the church to step in and mentor this girl. Knowing about the pregnancy center in your community becomes a benefit here as well because the center will be able to help out with medical advice and other services and goods she needs.
5) Preach Christ and Him Crucified
I was disappointed to hear that the organization behind the Planned Parenthood protests today has actually been telling people not to pray in Jesus name at these protests. Folks, no. That is absolutely wrong. Now is not the time to be politically correct. Exercising our culture's understanding of "tolerance" is exactly what has gotten us as far into this mess as we are in.
People are not unified by outrage. They're not even unified by tolerance. They're unified by Christ. There is no greater unity. If we start shying away from preaching Christ as we protest against Planned Parenthood or abortion in general, our nation will not be driven to its knees. We must pray in Jesus name, or no prayer of ours will be heard (John 14:6).
It is not enough to eliminate abortion. If we think that's enough, then we're practicing a works-based salvation. We must beg, plead for God's forgiveness on this country! We must have broken hearts over this matter or we will not heal. We will not be healed. Christ must be preached. That is the only way to know forgiveness. It is the only way to be unified behind a common cause.
Unity happens in Christ Jesus. Spread the gospel. For all have sinned and fallen short of God's perfect, glorious, righteous standard. But the free gift of grace is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, who died on the cross in our place so that we might share forever in his glory. We have taken lives. Millions of them. But Christ will save us if we repent.
He is the healer of broken hearts, the forgiver of sin, the giver of life. He brings the dead back to life! If we truly want life and that is what we're standing for today, if we want to have our hands washed of this heinous sin, we must beg for his forgiveness. And we must tell others. We must do it and keep doing it until he returns.
This is perhaps the most important of these five suggestions -- keep preaching Christ! Absolutely do not shy away from obeying this fundamental command, or you absolutely will shy away from other fundamental aspects of life.