On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of The United States of America issued its long expected decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson. This landmark decision overturned the previous court rulings of Roe v. Wade & Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision effectively pushed the decision about abortion back to the states and the people of this country. As a result of standing state legislation, abortion become illegal in many states across our land.
As expected, this decision was met immediately with cheers and jeers. Many in the pro-life camp (where I firmly and proudly plant my feet) took to social media and other outlets to express their joy. While many in the pro-choice camp took to the same to express their frustration and disdain for the Dobbs decision. Over the last few days, there has been much debate in the media - social and otherwise. The volume of this debate reflects how widely our country is divided on this issue.
Over the last few days, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this division. I have asked several questions of myself. How should I respond to the division I see? How should the church respond? What does our country need right now from me and other Christians?
In thinking about these questions, I was reminded of a Hebrew word that I taught on recently in our midweek worship service. That word is “hesed” and it is translated as “steadfast love” or “lovingkindness”. This word was used by God In Exodus 34:6 as He describe His nature to Moses. This is what our country needs now. Our nations needs to see the steadfast love of God on display in the life of those who claim to follow Him.
The only question is - How? How do we demonstrate the lovingkindness of God in our lives? How do we do so without compromising our biblical convictions on the sanctity of human life? How do we do so that in a way that our pro-choice friends and neighbors know that we love them and so do our God? Here are a few quick thoughts.
King David, after his public failing with Bathsheba, writes Psalm 51 as a song of repentance. He begins this psalm by crying out to God based on God’s steadfast love. Here is what he writes, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.” David demonstrates in this psalm both a confidence in God’s lovingkindness and a keen awareness of his own sinfulness.
The church would do well in this moment to take the same posture. There is nothing wrong with rejoicing in this decision. However, we need to rejoice with a keen awareness of our own sin and God’s lovingkindness. This means that we see the hand of God in this decision and we see the Gospel work that still remains in our world (that includes our own hearts). This sort of perspective leaved little room for gloating.
In Psalm 103:4 David reflected on the steadfast love of God with the following thoughts, “who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” He knew what it was like to be in the pit of despair. He knew what it was like to need deliverance. Most importantly, He knew who would deliver him.
As we approach this moment in history, we do so not with just a better ethic or understanding of human worth. We do so with an understanding of the cure for the human condition. Sin is the problem, and Christ is the cure. The apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 3:14, “But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.” We have limited words and time with folks, let’s make sure that we are spending most of that time presenting Christ.
Finally, as David considered the steadfast love of God, he sought to demonstrate it to others. In 2 Samuel 9, David shows kindness to a servant of Saul’s. The words of David are pretty compelling in verse three, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” David understood that God’s lovingkindness was something meant to be shared with others.
The church has a huge opportunity right now. There are men and women contemplating abortion, who need to be served and shown better alternatives. There are unwed mothers, who need to be shown support. There are organizations who are ramping up to serve that need our donations and our time. We have an opportunity to serve, let’s seize this moment for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.
There are a lot of things that can come out of this moment. The question for the church is what is going to come out of us. Will we leverage this moment to speak truth and demonstrate God’s steadfast love? Or will we leverage this moment to glory in a victory? Remember, you don’t have to agree with your neighbor to pray for them, share Christ with them and to serve them. You just have to love them the way God does.