This week has been a tough week for the evangelical Christian community (a community that I consider myself very much a part of). On Tuesday night, January 22, I posted a blog detailing my perspective on the new Abortion Bill that had been passed in Albany that day. My goal was to offer a unique viewpoint as a 31-year-old male pastor who was adopted from birth. I understood that the timely nature of this post would mean that it would experience some traction, but I didn’t anticipate quite as much as it did. As a small town pastor, you don’t expect any level of wide-spread exposure, but I suppose that’s the potential that Facebook offers anyone with an internet connection.

As I have spent time with God this week, navigating through my emotions, I believe He would have me share the journey He has had me on, and where He has taken me in scripture. I am forever grateful to have a God who helps me navigate my thought process in challenging situations. 

This blog today is explicitly written with the Christian in mind, and I pray that, as a Pastor, God would grant me enough authority to speak into the lives of those who sit under the grace of Jesus Christ (even those who are not directly under my oversight).

What if we were all murderers?

I am not the only evangelical Christian who has responded to this situation, and I’m certainly not the only evangelical Christian who struggles with any Bill that legalizes abortion at any level. But I do want to be one of the first Christians to remind Christ’s Bride (the church) of what Jesus said to all those who would listen in Matthew 5.

[21] “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ [22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:21–24

Jesus’ best friend, John, also reiterated Jesus’ heart in his first letter to a bunch of house churches in Ephesus as he encouraged them towards loving unity.

[14] We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. [15] Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:14–15

Yes, John is explicitly talking to a group of believers in regards to how they ought to interact with one another. But we can’t over contextualize this text and treat this advice as unique to believers only, and thus negate how we are called to love the world in and through its mess. The second greatest commandment still stands true today (Matthew 22:36-40).

This week social media has seen a flurry of Christian’s responding (including me) to this Bill in ways that could potentially open the door for hatred to take root in our hearts and distance us from a world we’ve been commissioned to with the Gospel. As you read this, ask God to reveal your heart to you. Was it filled with hatred? Is it still filled with hate? If so, recognize that you to have fallen into the same category as the one involved in abortion; you too are a murderer, and you also need the same grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ at this moment. It’s sufficient for you and sufficient for them. 

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5

We cannot and must not forget to examine our own lives before casting judgment on a lost world that we once belonged to. If it wasn’t this week, at some point, we have all murdered. Therefore it’s imperative that we allow His new mercies – every morning – to inform the truth and grace that we walk in daily. May we walk in humility and not arrogance.

Now, please do not think that this my attempt at minimizing what I still believe to be murder. Any termination of a third-party’s heartbeat will always be considered murder in any circumstance or situation. But as far as Jesus is concerned, so will hate; and as Christians, we cannot miss this. The danger for us doesn’t come in minimizing abortion as something less than murder, but reducing the hate in our heart as less than murder.

A church of murderers 

My prayer for us as the hands and feet of Jesus today, is that His churches would be full of murderers. Murderers who all humbly sit under His grace and forgiveness. Murderers who lift their hands and hearts in awe of a God who saved them from their wicked ways and moved them into a relationship with Him. Murderers whose souls are enlightened to His design for His creation. Murderers who now value what He values, as He values it.

I do believe that abortion for some is a solution to maintain a level of selfish convenience, but I also recognize that for some, it was a genuine struggle as they navigated through problematic waters without guidance and support. Either way, the last thing that these women need from the church is shame and condemnation. Instead, they need a group of people ready, willing and able to welcome them and walk with them to the open, reconciling arms of Jesus Christ. 

Grace and forgiveness are available for all murderers without exception, and Wilson FBC will forever be a place for anyone to come as they are, but never stay as they are.

Heavenly Father, we not only continue to pray for our country, and it’s leaders; that they would turn from their wicked ways. But we pray that we would not lose sight of the unmerited grace that you have saved us with. God protect us from our pride and hatred, and allow us ALWAYS to be your body that responds equally balanced in truth and grace. Freedom is ONLY and FOREVER found in you! In Jesus’ name, amen!