God's Love vs Human Condemnation
edited: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
By Christine E Blake
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008
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Love to end abortion rather than condemnation...
God’s Love for Young Mothers
By Christine Blake
Love, not condemnation leads people down the right road.
I learned this in high school one evening at a basketball game, of all places. I was sitting in front of some of the players’ moms in the bleachers when a young girl, pregnant by a friend of mine, dared to walk into the gym. The hens behind me began to peck as soon as the young, scared figure darkened the door with her growing shadow.
“Whore”, “Cheep”, “Slut” were just some of the names they choose to describe this unfortunate mother-to-be. And that’s when it hit me. This is why two of the girlfriends of these hen’s sons had had abortions. Fear of this: social condemnation, which often leads us all to hide sin with sin. And I wondered if these mothers had known of their lost grandchildren, would they have supported this girl: the one who had made the difficult choice to keep her baby?
Condemnation has never been a tool Jesus used when redeeming sinners. Over and over again in the Gospels He loves people into a new way of life. We see this in stories of the woman at the well, the woman with seven demons, Thomas as he doubts, Peter as he denies, the many times Jesus is criticized for eating with sinners and tax collectors, the woman who anoints Him at Simon’s house, etc. I could go on and on with examples of His loving sinners into redemption.
The clearest example of His stance on love verses condemnation to change someone’s heart is the stoning of the adulteress. She had sinned, she had committed adultery and by every law in the land she was condemned to die by stoning. As the crowd readied their just punishment, Jesus suggested that “he who is without sin cast the first stone”. No one did, obviously. However, the point we often miss here is that Jesus is “He who is without sin”, and He does not throw a stone either. Rather, He forgives her, helps her to her feet, and sends her on her way to not sin again.
In this way, not only was a life saved, but more importantly, a soul. I wonder how many other young women cover up the sin of adultery, whether extra-marital or pre-marital with the more painful sin of abortion because we, their society, their family, are ready to throw the stones if evidence of sin arises. One fact we must remember is that God chose to have Jesus’ mother face this same crowd, as she became pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. Joseph called off the marriage and she was in grave danger of being stoned to death. It is only by God’s intervention, once again, that the young girl Mary is saved and the life within her preserved. This was a very intentional decision, one we ought to ponder the reasons for. What is His message about our attitude toward unwed mothers?
I continued to struggle with this “socially forced abortion” issue as a high school teacher and youth minister. Unfortunately, often I heard about it after the abortion as the girls struggled to deal with what they saw as the only choice. Girls afraid to shame their families, afraid dad meant it when he said, “I’ll disown you”, afraid of the lack of forgiveness of their family far more than they were willing to believe in the forgiveness of Jesus. After all, parents, we are the primary example of God’s love to our children.
Would it not be better to hold one another’s hand and offer understanding when sin is committed? We’re all here struggling with our own mistakes, sins, weaknesses, and we can struggle together or alone; as one priest explained to my youth group, “we’re far more likely to get into heaven helping one another up than we are stepping on one another’s fingers to get ahead.”
Teen sex is a perfect example. As we teach our children the virtues of abstinence and chastity, can we also offer support when they fail? Programs like Project Rachel and the Gabriel Project are wonderful messages of love from our Church, and we, as Church, must embrace this message and teach our children unconditional love and forgiveness rather than fear and condemnation. For our children’s sake, and perhaps, their children’s sake.