“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34b).
Affirming life is hardly a party. Speaking the truth of God’s Word is no mere hobby. Showing the love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t just some preference or lifestyle. Our mission is more than personal interests or political issues. This service we undertake is struggle and battle. This labor we engage in is warfare. Respecting and protecting the gift of life is THE war, and it is OUR war. We are fighting for our culture, our conscience, our civilization. As Lutherans For Life we are fighting for our country, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our future. The time for simply standing by has passed. The luxury of only looking on left long ago.
God has entered our world as Jesus Christ! He has achieved victory of life over death for us. Now we get to announce it. And we get to enact it.
You and I have become witnesses and participants. Evil makes itself barest and boldest right in the middle of the matters we attend to. Souls entangled in these injuries and scars lie within our reach, with no less than their salvation at stake. Hearts strapped to failures and trapped by fears suffer beside us, with their very lives on the line. The devil’s deceptions about a person’s preciousness endanger the identities and realities of those near to us. They feel ashamed and anxious, artificial and all alone. They are our own flesh and blood—and there but for the grace of God go we.
Yet joy—relentless Christian joy—belongs on this battlefield. And hope—fierce Gospel hope—is made for these frontline moments.
Brothers and sisters, here we stand, with the sword of our Creator and Savior in hand! We are raising it up—as He has raised us up—not to smite opponents or slay competitors—but to sever chains and set oppressed and even condemned prisoners free!
You know what struggling, suffering, and crumpling sin’s smoldering gravity causes. And you know what deliverance, what emancipation, what blessed abandon the Gospel voice brings.
Will you enter the action alongside us? With your gift, we can plant the flag of Christ’s unconditional acceptance in their hearts!
Your gift sustains the jubilant resistance by enabling us to further equip Lutherans with greater Gospel motivation as voices for life. Your gift amplifies our message that the Lord’s loving actions—rather than any human abilities, efforts, accomplishments, or offerings—make every person priceless. Let’s lift high the cross in every congregation and every community until all together uphold the God-given blessing each human life is!
The attacks against life are launching quicker, landing closer, and claiming casualties among people we know.
A politically driven study, conducted by a major university and published in a prominent journal, concluded in December that being denied a desired abortion affects women’s mental health more adversely than undergoing the trauma of abortion.
The city of Washington, D.C., succeeded in January at sanctioning physician-assisted suicide, making it the sixth jurisdiction (and the third in the last two years) to decriminalize intentional death.
French legislation enacted in February threatens fines and prison time for websites offering information about abortion’s negative physical or psychological aftereffects. (In November, French television officials forbade the airing of a video celebrating individuals with Down syndrome because it might “disturb” women who aborted because of such a diagnosis.)
Research collected in 2016 indicates that 76% of church-going post-abortive women felt their church had no influence on their abortion decision, and only 5.5% of Protestant pastors identified a life-affirming ministry in their church.
We are striving for more than stopping abortion and embryo destruction. We are aspiring to a higher aim than the end of suicide and sexual license. Our message and ministry proclaims a dying and rising with Christ that creates new hearts and new lives—and Easter guarantees that God’s love works and wins.
As many as 300 callers a month (from women and men) find Gospel-healing through our counselor, Grace, at Word of Hope’s post-abortion hotline (630.990.0909; www.word-of-hope.org)!
Support for unborn life has decreased the demand for abortion so much that 76% of abortion clinics open in 1991 have closed—and six states have only one clinic left!
- Lutherans For Life is recognized in more churches now than at any other time in our 40-year history as we work with seven life-affirming American Lutheran bodies—and others around the world!
Y4Life, our youth initiative, formed student-led Life Teams on six college campuses and has started developing similar relationships with Lutheran high schools!
The biblical Lutheran belief that God’s grace, not one’s own works, determines a person’s worth has not gone silent even after 500 years. In fact, it has only grown clearer! With your gift, we will improve and expand this life-saving voice and its harvest!
The enemy has gotten so weak that he only has force and violence left. Meanwhile, we continue to invite, embrace, encourage, and care for the victims and vulnerable ones. We rejoice to share with them the Gospel perspective that every life is a sacred gift and privilege—whether prebirth, post abortion, pro-choice, in pain, or approaching death. We’d love you to unite with us!
P.S. A gift to Lutherans For Life in a loved one’s name or in someone’s memory makes an elegant tribute. Our online giving tool makes such designations easy—along with monthly sponsorships, electronic transfers, and a variety of other options!
LFL Job Board - Word of Hope Director
Now’s our chance!
Life’s sanctity is seismically shifting our culture. More than 40 years of grace and truth are nearing critical mass. The message of every human being’s preciousness is wobbling windows and walls and storming doors and floors throughout death’s most secure strongholds. Rather than silencing the earthquake set in motion by God’s crucified love and resurrected salvation, society’s trembling selfishness has only allowed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to amplify. This whole land is seeing how the value He gives to all persons—by creating, redeeming, calling, and connecting us—is snowballing its most skeptical opponents.
States are honoring marginalized lives with their laws:
In 19 states lawmakers resisted extremist pressure to allow physician-assisted suicide (and five more states will have done so by end of the legislative session), and New Mexico’s Supreme Court affirmed killing a terminally ill patient isn’t a “fundamental right” even with consent.
334 life-affirming regulations have taken effect in the last five years, reducing annual unborn deaths by 500,000 and leading to widespread facility closures.
23 states have filed suit against federal threats to withhold funding from schools that distinguish bathroom use by birth gender.
Students—the leaders of the future—are enthusiastically celebrating endangered lives:
Students for Life campus groups now outnumber their Planned Parenthood counterparts by 1,043 to 275 (almost four to one!).
53% of young adults oppose abortion on demand, an increase of nine points in only four years, and less than half support public funding for Planned Parenthood.
Less than half of high school students surveyed report being sexually active, which is 13% fewer than 25 years ago, and the number of abstinent young adult men has doubled (women tripled!) since the 1960s.
Almighty God is moving His hand! Lord Jesus Christ is accomplishing His mission in us! Not only has He made this message of ours important, but He is making our work effective as well! Seize this opportunity with us and sustain the intensity with a special financial gift to Lutherans For Life. You are investing directly in heaven’s own treasury of changed hearts and saved lives. Together let us show our joy and gratitude at being forgiven, relieved, and delivered by lovingly sharing our Father’s forgiveness, relief, and deliverance with our neighbors.
The Need Is Great, Now’s the Time
Indeed, we dare not let up. We’d better not delay or hesitate. Our labors must remain unrelenting. Evil and the devil are not stalling. Deception and death will not decelerate:
The United Nations is exploiting the Zika virus to urge abortion in countries where it’s currently illegal.
Studies report persons in same-sex marriages commit suicide three times more often than others.
National Institutes of Health may fund injecting animal embryos with human stem cells.
Use of abortion-causing LARC devices (long-acting reversible contraceptives) is rising.
U.S. Supreme Court ruled women’s health concerns place “undue burden” on abortion access.
Those raised by same-sex parents suffer twice as much depression and abuse as those from traditional families.
State governments have begun forcing doctors and pregnancy centers to promote abortion services.
Teens attending schools that distribute condoms get pregnant (and contract STDs) more frequently than teens attending schools that promote abstinence.
Suffering people are buying the lie that sometimes death offers the only solutions. Someone you know, somebody you love, needs us. They need the same Jesus we can’t live without. God’s love and Christ’s forgiveness CAN and WILL rescue them. Lutherans For Life reaches and touches so many of them with the life-giving Gospel. It will take us $981,000 to meet such needs nationwide this year. We have $459,000 so far. (That’s less than half!) Please send a gift today so that you can keep being our heart, and we’ll keep being your voice. Together we bring the body of Christ—the feet and fingers of Father, Son, and Spirit Himself—to these desperate ones.
Lutherans at the Epicenter
Gifts like yours have enabled us to apply God’s Word right to the pressure points. Our resources and services intersect your community—and hundreds of others—where death pounds fiercest. Rather than ignoring altogether or observing from a distance, Lutherans For Life takes God’s fight and Christ’s victory to all the ground zeroes:
Y4Life, under the direction of Laura Davis, united, equipped, and energized thousands of Lutheran students with activities and exhibits at Higher Things and the LCMS National Youth Gathering this summer.
A renewed Life Teams program is soon approaching completion and publication to invigorate and outfit congregation-based squads (we already have over 100!) for serving and saluting life locally and individually.
Owen’s Mission is capturing the imaginations of children from California to Connecticut by giving their Lutheran school Touch of Life fetal models so they can feel how God loves life—including theirs.
LFL’s National Conference (October 21-22, 2016, Bloomington, Minnesota) features a wealth of expert sessions about life advocacy and activism in the distinctively Lutheran spirit—a gathering of life-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.
Brand new and relevant Life Sunday materials prepare your pastor and congregation for a special occasion of proclaiming the good news of God’s highest blessing—lives!
Join us! Jump in! Visit the website and find and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo to see the pictures and get all the scoops. Drop us a line and find out what we can do for you, or let us know what Lutherans For Life means to you. I’m looking forward to your gift and your partnership!
We’ve been receiving frequent reports of how our Gospel conversations are rescuing and protecting lives. I humbly but boldly ask you to help us gather the remaining $522,000 necessary to continue this vital ministry. Our God magnifies it and multiplies it into His miracles, so feel confident giving generously!
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 146: 3-10 ESV)
Yesterday, June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States, made up of “sons of man,” issued their opinion that Texas abortion clinics do not need to meet the same health standards as other clinics which provide surgical treatment for their patients. The Texas law, which seems to be common sense, also required that doctors in abortion clinics must have admitting privileges at a hospital near the abortion clinic in case something goes wrong during the procedure (as has happened in the past). The Supreme Court ruled that those safeguards are unconstitutional.
While this Supreme Court decision seems unfathomable for so many reasons and on so many levels, God, through the hand of the psalmist, reminds us that it is He who made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. That includes the legislators in Texas; the justices of the Supreme Court; the mothers who turn to abortion; and the children who are the helpless, silent victims.
We at Lutherans For Life mourn this decision, but we take comfort in the reality that God is watching over us, the sojourners, and that He upholds the widow, the fatherless, the elderly, the mother who is considering abortion, the father who has been involved in an abortion decision, and the aborted child.
So, once again, the princes and sons of man have failed us and we turn to the Lord who reigns forever. We pray for His forgiveness for this nation that has largely turned its back on Him, and we continue to equip Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life. May God have mercy on us all and empower us to do His will.
Perhaps you have seen the clever “hashtags” such as #childofgod, #todayisgreat, and #herewegoagain.
Hashtags use the number sign (#) in front of a word or an un-spaced phrase, making it easy for social network users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Hashtags are often used for social activism to promote certain agendas or social movements. In September, our society experienced a new level of hashtag insanity with #shoutyourabortion (shout your abortion). Women and men around the world are now shouting their abortion decision by way of a quick, emotional hashtag. This confuses me.
Why? Because those who claim that abortion is nothing more than a woman’s right to a medical procedure do not, as far as I know, shout out other medical procedures. For example, we don’t hear of women’s health organizations encouraging #shoutyourkidneystoneremoval or #shoutyourmammogram or #shoutyourstdtest. No. There is something deeper going on, and the timing of #shoutyourabortion is more than concerning—especially in light of the recent exposure of Planned Parenthood’s hideous practice of selling aborted baby body parts.
Studies show that abortion is linked to depression. “After Abortion Facts” statistics reveal that as many as nine in ten women regret having their abortion, seven in ten women feel bitter and desperate after their abortion, and up to 70% experience uncontrollable weeping. The mainstream media and organizations with financial gain agendas are working feverishly to blame these statistics on people like you and me who won’t embrace the killing of innocent children in the womb. Those who believe that a woman’s “right to choose” trumps a baby’s beating heart often note that it’s our fault that post-abortive women feel the depression and shame that most typically follows abortion. Let’s follow this line of thinking. Our society does not openly embrace rape and murder. That being the case, why isn’t this world filled with rapists and murderers who feel shame and guilt over their actions?
Our human nature celebrates things that we delight in. In a different kind of way, we celebrate things that we mourn. For instance, we celebrate our child’s birthday but also 9/11. We can look through history to find many days recognizing joy and life and others recognizing tragedy or death. Those celebrations stand in contrast. The purpose for one is to remember the gift and value of life. The purpose of the other is to remember loss with sadness and reverence.
Could it be that those who are driven to shout their abortions have been deceived yet once again? Could they be deceived into thinking that the “shout out” that they’re giving is in celebration of their own personal life when, in truth, their hearts are feeling and expressing a very real loss? I believe the statistics show this to be true for many. In fact, we can use a statistic very close to us at The Lighthouse Center of Hope in Iowa Falls, Iowa (where I am the executive director). Linda Bartlett, former president of Lutherans For Life and current president of the Lighthouse board of directors, says, “At last count, at least 25 of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances have shared their abortions with me. These women grieve the loss of their child and their motherhood. They tell about their depression, drug abuse, withdrawal from relationships, feelings of doing self-harm and, worst of all, their separation from God.”
There is another kind of hashtag that expresses unselfish love for life. A friend of mine recently posted #shoutyourADOPTION. Now that’s something to celebrate! At The Lighthouse, we come alongside women and families with the love of Christ, whether they grieve their abortion choice or find peace in their adoption choice. Christ’s mercies never end! They are new every morning! Because we have seen hope and healing through the decisions that have haunted families for years, it is our desire to shout the things that please God and show evidence of His faithful and holy work.
Proverbs 24:11-12 reminds us, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
Let’s whisper and let’s shout the hope of Christ. Let’s bring hope to those who have been deceived by the world to sin against God, themselves, and their child. Let’s help others look forward to the future with great hope and trust in the Lord of life.
Sherry Ellis is the Executive Director of The Lighthouse Center of Hope in Iowa Falls, Iowa. www.thelighthousecenter.com
The 2015 Lutherans For Life National Conference is coming up soon! Here are 10 reasons you should join us!
It is a wonderful place to meet new friends and build relationships! You will find many FOR LIFE-minded folks from around the United States and Canada. (Some say an LFL conference is like attending a family reunion.)
An LFL conference is spiritually uplifting and encouraging. The speakers and worship service focus directly on God’s Word and how it applies to the life issues.
Knowledgeable and engaging speakers will address a variety of life issues. Read on to find out more.
Lots of learning. There is so much to learn that you will want to buy the CDs and DVDs just to take it all in!
Great exhibitors will be sharing wonderful resources, products, ministries, and organizations.
It is a wonderful opportunity to meet national LFL leaders, the LFL Life Center team—and for all of them to meet you!
You will be able to meet Rev. Michael Salemink, our new executive director. He will be installed at the Friday evening worship service. This will be a very special event!
Our 2015 conference will also be a chance for you to personally thank Dr. Lamb for his many years of faithful and dedicated service to Lutherans For Life. Dr. Lamb officially retires at the end of the year.
ZIP LINES! A visit to our conference is also a great time to check out the Creation Museum’s new Zip Line and Canopy Adventure Tours! It features "over two and a half miles of zip lines and sky bridges, it is the biggest and best zip line course in the Midwest!" RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Even if zip lines are not your thing, kids--and grand kids--love them! (Please note that the zip line is NOT included as part of your your Creation Museum ticket.)
Were you surprised? I was not as surprised as many seemed to be. I’m talking about reactions to the ever-increasing number of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing obtaining and selling body parts from aborted babies. Why was I not surprised? This is consistent with their mindset that denies the humanity and value of the unborn. When you treat an unborn child as a “product of conception,” then it naturally follows that you have a “product” to sell. The real horror behind these videos is the devaluing of human life. The evil of putting a price on the body parts of unborn children flows from the greater evil of their denial that the unborn are children.
Lutherans For Life (LFL) also puts a price on unborn children. Well, actually we point to the price God puts on the unborn and all humanity. “You were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20a). In Acts, Paul talks to the Ephesians pastors about that price: “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28b). The price God paid for the sins of humanity was His own blood! God shed His blood in the person of Jesus for every single human being. Not all know that, of course, and our task as His church is to share it. But the fact remains that this paid-in-full price bestows value on every human being, including the unborn.
While LFL is doing plenty to make people aware of the atrocities committed by the nation’s largest abortion provider, our greater task is to address the root problem that gives rise to such atrocities—the devaluing of human life. And do we ever have a message that gives value to life! Every life for which Jesus paid the price of His shed blood is also a life created by the hands of God, knit together in the womb (Psalm 139:13). And every life created by God and bought by the blood of Jesus is a life God wants to call into an eternal relationship with Him (1 Timothy 2:4).
If we can equip more and more Lutherans to understand this God-given value, they will become voices for all the unborn and the vulnerable. When we share a Gospel-based message, lives are changed, lives are saved, and we may even influence our culture.
I have been receiving many appeals for funds from various worthy and life-affirming groups to help them “Battle Planned Parenthood” or “Defund Planned Parenthood.” Now I am appealing to you for funds, but not so much to “Battle Planned Parenthood.” We use our funds to get at the core of the problem and promote the God-given, blood-bought value of human life. This is the source of real and lasting change.
If you believe that this is the true heart of the issue, then I ask that you please consider sending us a financial gift of whatever you are able to give). Indeed, any sized gift would be greatly appreciated, and I promise it will be used for the purposes intended.
A Life Saved and Lives Touched
One of the things we do with gifts from people like you is to set up displays at various Lutheran conventions and conferences. We have been to many this past summer. Now that may not seem too exciting, but you should hear what we hear and see what we see at these events! Some stories:
Our displays almost always center around a set of Touch of Life fetal models, those very life-like babies at various stages of development. People of all ages love to pick them up and hold them. Recently we learned that a young woman who saw these babies at our LFL display changed her mind about aborting her baby! Praise God for working through these little babies to save a little baby. And thank you, because your gifts help make things like this happen.
A woman who had a miscarriage years ago finally found an opportunity to grieve publicly as she wept while holding our 12-week model. She received comfort from an LFL staff member and was given our devotional booklet for those who grieve a miscarriage, “Into His Loving Care.” She later wrote how thankful she was for our ministry, and I, in turn, thank you.
At a youth event, a young person picked up one of our wristbands imprinted with the words, “Created – Redeemed – Called.” I explained that this was the real source of our value and that nothing else mattered. I told him that if he ever started feeling down about himself to look at his wrist. This young man came back the next day and shared how he had used the bracelet and its message of our God-given value when he talked with a depressed friend who had mentioned suicide. He was able to help his friend not only feel better but seek the help he needed.
From a teacher who stopped by a display: “I use your materials all the time in the classroom. They’re great.” From a pastor: “Your end-of-life brochures really helped a family in my congregation get through a very difficult decision.”
A Word of Hope for the Wounded
Back to those Planned Parenthood videos. While they may call people’s attention to the tragedy of abortion, think what they stir up in the hearts of those who have had an abortion or who have participated in an abortion decision. Those who counsel post-abortive women and men talk of “trigger events,” things like the sound of a vacuum cleaner that remind them of the suction aspirator they heard during their abortion. The anniversary of the abortion or the due date of an aborted child can also cause pain. Seeing these videos, hearing others talk about them, and reading news reports that describe them can be triggering great regret and guilt in the hearts of many across our country.
That is why we are making an effort to do more to publicize LFL’s post-abortion hotline, Word of Hope. It is the only Lutheran post-abortion hotline in the country and is completely funded by LFL. We receive around 250 calls each month. Callers receive professional, confidential, Gospel-based counseling.
One woman who received such help wanted others to know about Word of Hope. She wrote, “If you are suffering from the memory of a past abortion, be assured that you are forgiven. But also know the Lord wants you to be whole, and you can find the sources for help in the Word of Hope ministry. Your call will be confidential, and you will be referred to someone who will treat you with love and acceptance. There you will find no judgment or condemnation, only God’s promise for restoration and healing.”
Another woman wrote: “I went through counseling for my abortion and second pregnancy with Word of Hope. I will never forget talking to the director, Grace, for the first time. She loved me unconditionally, and with her help I accepted the reality of what I had done and began to accept God’s forgiveness for my sin of abortion. Grace helped me grieve for my child.”
Your gift can can help Grace and the others at Word of Hope share God’s grace with hundreds of others. Please say a prayer for those hurting from a past abortion and then consider a gift to LFL. You can help bring a Word of Hope to wounded hearts.
Perhaps you can help promote Word of Hope in your congregation by publishing Word of Hope’s toll free number and website (888.217.8679; www.word-of-hope.org) regularly in bulletins, newsletters, and on your congregation’s website. You can also order the free Word of Hope brochures (Abortion: Item LFL404T; Abuse: Item LFL909T) from Concordia Publishing House (www.cph.org) and make them available in your church. (At the congregation where I am a member, we put brochures in both the women’s and men’s bathroom stalls.)
So Much More to Share
God is giving LFL many opportunities to share His powerful, life-affirming message. But I do not want this letter to get much longer, so here are some highlights.
Gifts to LFL help equip and maintain what we call our “Frontline” ministry. Life Chapters and Life Teams serving congregations and communities help translate our life-affirming theology into life-affirming reality! These people carry out educational events, planning and hosting seminars and workshops that offer real, practical help in dealing with end-of-life issues, for example. I could not begin to count the thousands and thousands of diapers collected across the country to be given to local pregnancy resources centers. One of our Life Teams recently helped open a pregnancy center in a former Planned Parenthood facility! Some groups collect items needed in care centers—lap robes, clothing protectors, etc. I just wish I could share the hundreds of reports we get from these groups across the nation and all the life-affirming activity that is going on. Your gift will help it continue and grow.
Y4Life is our focus on the younger generation. This generation offers so much enthusiasm, energy, and joy to what LFL does. Life Teams are forming on Lutheran high school campuses, universities, and seminaries. Students are being engaged and equipped. They boldly take a stand for life and compassionately put their convictions into action through a variety of LFL-sponsored servant events—sidewalk counseling, visiting the homebound and elderly, volunteering at pregnancy resource centers, organizing trips to the March for Life in Washington D.C., and much, much more. Your gift will help us continue to tap into this vast resource of excited and Gospel-driven young people.
Your Gift Helps with It All
LFL’s impact and equipping opportunities grow and grow every day. The Lord places before us such wonderful opportunities to get at the root of the atrocities we see committed against life by promoting what He has done that gives value to life. He places before us ever-increasing opportunities to show Christian compassion, care, and healing.
Please help us take advantage of each and every one of them. Fill out, tear off, and send in the enclosed form today. Your gift will help change and save lives.
Pray. I saved the most important for last. Please, please, please—whether you are able to give or not—keep the ministry of LFL in your prayers. Petition the Lord of Life to continue to work through Lutherans For Life, accomplishing His will and sharing the truth and grace of His Word as it speaks to these matters of life and death.
“There is … no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
Alienation from God began when the first man and woman doubted their Creator. How could this happen? Satan, who opposes God and despises the humans so dear to God’s heart, tempted Eve.
Satan knew the order of God’s creation. He knew that to man were given the instructions to resist evil, do good, and defend life. But a sly and cunning Satan ignored the man and approached the woman. He asked, “Did God actually say ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1) In that moment, the woman doubted God and trusted her own reasoning. Instead of turning her back on Satan, she engaged him in conversation. Not only did she speak for God, she added words of her own, answering, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die’” (Genesis 3:2-3). Eve sinned when she failed to trust God and added to His Word (compare Genesis 3:2-3 with Genesis 2:16-17).
This is how temptation works. After we doubt God’s Word, we more easily reject it and then attempt to establish our own standard of right and wrong. We put ourselves in place of God.
Was the woman alone in her sin? As the head and steward of God’s creation, Adam was responsible for what happened, even though the woman was the first to disobey. The man failed to trust God’s Word for life and use it to resist evil. The eyes of man and woman were both opened when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. “God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9)
Alienation from God was felt immediately. For the first time, the man and the woman experienced self-consciousness in their nakedness. Sin and a new emotion of shame separated them from one another and from God. Adam and Eve attempted to cover themselves and hide.
There are always bitter consequences for sin. But even though Adam and Eve were sent away from the perfect garden into a sin-tainted world, God promised a Savior who is Christ Jesus the Lord.
Satan continues to deceive us today. When a woman is pregnant with a child she didn’t plan, Satan asks, “Did God actually say that He creates each child in his or her mother’s womb?” (Psalm 139:13-16) “Did God actually say that He knows us before we are born?” (Jeremiah 1:5) “Did God actually say that taking your child’s life is murder?” (Proverbs 6:16-17) “Did God actually say that a woman’s body is not her own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20) “Did God actually say that He will care for both mother and child?” (Isaiah 40:11)
Satan alone is not responsible for our sins. He may actively try to seduce us and persuade us, but we are responsible every time we doubt God and want to become our own gods. It is a daily struggle: our will against God’s will. Too often, fear is the driving force in our lives. We are tempted to make wrong choices when we fear being unloved, rejected, or out of control. After wrong choices are made, fear rises again. In shame, we fear that God will stop loving us.
But there is hope! Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are not captive to sin or fear. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15).
There is hope! Even after the shame of abortion, hope comes anew in the Father’s love. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
God does not want us to remain alienated from Him. We alienate ourselves by rationalizing or refusing to confess the sin of abortion. But, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Dear Abba Father, with You nothing is impossible. Your only Son, Jesus Christ, paid the price for my abortion sin. Believing this, I do not have to fear separation from You. I am forgiven and set free to live a new life as your child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (King David in Psalm 32:3-5).
Denial is the way we avoid accepting responsibility for our sin, whatever that sin might be. A man or woman may deny their sexual sin and, if a child is conceived, they may continue their denial by scheduling an abortion. Denial continues when the death of the child is ignored or rationalized. But can anything ever be hidden from God (Hebrews 4:12-13)?
Denial following an abortion doesn’t allow the woman to grieve. Instead, she may rush into activities that temporarily relieve anxiety. Following her abortion, “Ella” indulged in a lifestyle that was harmful to herself and her surviving family. She left her children with her mother while spending long hours in local bars in search of the “love” of men. Drug and alcohol abuse were attempts to wipe away the face of her aborted child.
Denial is hazardous to our spiritual health (Psalm 32:3-4). Unrepentant sin places us in danger of losing our salvation, which is the greatest tragedy of all. Denial is also physically and emotionally damaging. Labeling abortion as “a woman’s right” protected by “law” encourages those who have abortions, those who perform them, and those who support them to be in denial of human sin and God’s justice.
When we do not confess our sin, we live as paupers, denying ourselves all the riches of mercy and grace that God so generously pours out upon His disobedient but sorrowfully repentant children.
There are only two options following sin. We can cover our sin or confess it. If we say we don’t sin, we make God a liar (1 John 1:10). If we confess our sin, denial is broken and healing begins. We confess by admitting we have sinned, agreeing with God about our sin, and turning away from those things that cause us to sin and be separated from God. Jesus Christ did all that was necessary to make us right with God, but since we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him, a forgiven and right relationship with God is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit.
When we are told that we’ve done wrong, our pride raises its ugly head. No one wants to be stained in the eyes of the world. Martin Luther said, “For not one of us would want his story written on his forehead.” He also said, “Do not deny and flee from God; confess and flee to Him.”
King David was caught in his sin with the married woman, Bathsheba. When the prophet Nathan confronted him, King David confessed, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive the sin of my abortion choice and, as you did with David, put it away. Surround me with Your love so that I have the courage to forgive myself. Give me strength to face tomorrow and, in Your time, use me to bring hope to others whose lives have been broken by abortion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Guilt is what we feel when we have violated our own moral code. For the woman who knows that she consented to the killing of her unborn child, the burden of guilt can be oppressive.
Feelings of guilt, some say, are the fault of Christians who call abortion a sin against God. Christianity is the problem, some pro-abortion advocates insist. But this claim is weakened when we learn about the women who’ve had abortions in non-Christian cultures. In spite of decades of abortion “on demand,” Japanese women admit to feeling “anxious” following the act. In their words, abortion is something “very bad.” It is not uncommon to find little grave markers in Japanese cemeteries with fresh flowers laid in memory of an aborted child. Handwritten notes offer emotional apologies from mother to child.
When we violate our own moral code, the inner voice of self-condemnation often plays a repeating tape in our minds which strongly accuses. “You are defective!” “You are bad!” “You are incapable of doing good.” We may become anxious and apprehensive. The overpowering feelings of guilt build a barrier between ourselves and family or friends. A woman who is suffering from post-abortion syndrome (PAS) may unconsciously avoid being around babies or young children. Numbness, another symptom of PAS, may cause a woman to withdraw from any relationship that might place her in a vulnerable position. Guilt over an abortion can cause anger, fear, dependency upon alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
Guilt can be healthy, however, when it makes us painfully aware of our sin. We are not really in tune with God if we never feel guilt over sin. We are sinners! Guilt makes us realize that we are stripped of our pride and naked before God. We are in need of a Savior from sin, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
In the words of Martin Luther, “Man is to be humbled, to creep to the cross, to sigh for Christ, to long for His race, to despair of himself, and to base all his confidence on Christ. From Him he is then to expect the gift of a new spirit and a change of heart so that he will no longer fear death and hell, no longer seek to earn life and heaven, but gratuitously and freely love the law, passing his life and meeting his death with a good, quiet conscience.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12). Amen.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).
“Abortion creates an immediate void in the parent,” writes Dr. Vincent Rue, “characterized by ambivalence, emptiness, and confusion. As the fetal child dies, so also does a part of the parent, male or female, married or not, minor or adult. Abortion is not just ‘pregnancy termination’ or ‘cellular disposal.’ It is a personal and relational amputation. Parents are parents forever, even of a dead child.”
It is common for those who suffer the trauma of abortion to experience sudden, distressing flashbacks to the abortion episode. Nightmares about babies in general or the aborted baby in particular may haunt the mother. She may even hear the sound of crying babies. All of these are signs of grief.
When we choose to disobey God, there will be pain and suffering. But rather than feeling overwhelmed by it, we can choose to deal with it through the eyes of faith. Consider Judas and Peter. Both men betrayed Jesus. Judas despaired in his grief and hanged himself. Peter, perhaps equally burdened, did not totally despair but claimed the forgiveness that was his and became a powerful man of God who brought many people to Jesus.
A woman who has chosen an abortion as the “solution” to her problem may depersonalize her child. In order to protect herself, she repeats the labels used by the abortionist, such as “unwanted tissue,” “product of conception,” or even “parasite.” She may convince herself that her abortion was “self defense.” When she moves into the stage of grief, she may ask questions that are not easy to answer such as, “Where is my child now?” This is the time to focus on God’s mercy and justice.
“It is important for the woman experiencing post-abortion syndrome,” writes Rev. Dr. Randall Shields, “to look back much further in time—to the cross and resurrection of Christ. It is here that she will find her strength and comfort, both the assurance that she has been forgiven and the wisdom of the Spirit to let go of the secret things.”
Satan wants us to wallow in the hopelessness of sin and despair. But Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).
Unlike our own earthly fathers who too often fail and disappoint us, God the Father never fails or disappoints. Jesus says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts [sins], as we also have forgiven our debtors [those who sin against us]. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:8-13).
Dear Heavenly Father, You have promised healing for the brokenhearted and hope for the hopeless. You see my tears and know my grief. Give me peace, Father, not as the world gives, but as only Jesus Christ can give. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
“I was filled with grief, guilt, and remorse over the loss of my two babies. I was also consumed with anger over the lies I had been told.” With great sorrow and feelings of betrayal, many women discover the facts about prenatal life only after their abortion. It is not the custom of abortion providers to inform a woman about the development of her baby or prepare her for the very real sense of loss she may experience after the abortion. Anger becomes a strong emotion for the woman who suddenly realizes that she had the “right to choose” without first being guaranteed her right to know.
We often take the anger we feel over our sin out on those who should have stopped us from sinning. After all, we say, they knew better. Why didn’t they warn us? With anger comes blame. “It was my boyfriend’s fault. He said he would leave me if I had the baby.” “It was my parents. They said an abortion would prevent me from ruining my future.” We may even blame God for letting us do such a bad thing.
At some point, the anger turns inward. Personal disappointment may be a crushing weight, one that is seemingly impossible to remove. If ever anyone had reason to be angry and bitter it was Naomi. In the Book of Ruth, we discover that Naomi had lost her husband and both sons. But instead of returning to her homeland in total despair, she took her eyes off her problems and realized the great blessing God had given her in her daughter-in-law Ruth.
Rev. Edward Fehskens writes, “Paralyzing guilt can make self-condemnation or self-pity a prison of grief, sorrow, and depression that endures for years. Depression is also compounded when there is no outlet to express the profound remorse a woman (or man) feels at the loss of an aborted child.” Depression is fed with feelings of low self-worth and the knowledge that values were compromised. Self-punishment may be inflicted. “It isn’t right that I feel good again. I must continue to suffer for the horrible thing I’ve done.”
There is also fear of judgment. “I wanted to confess my abortion to someone, but the fear of rejection and judgment kept me silent.” It is not unusual for a woman to keep her “secret” for a long, long time until finally, she hears words of welcome and compassion that allow her to tell her story. Ultimately, our self-worth is not dependent upon the way other people view us; rather, it is rooted in the reality of God’s love for us. We may refuse God’s love, but He never withholds it.
During the process of healing after an abortion sin, a woman comes to understand that the past is not forgotten, but it can be put in the right perspective by the light of Christ. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4). It is the light of Christ our Redeemer that reveals the mercy of God our Father.
“Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord” (Psalm 25:6-7).
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for going to the cross where You took on the anger of God that I deserve. With that sacrifice, You set me free from having to remain angry and unforgiving of myself. You have called me out of darkness into Your marvelous light. Turn my heart and mind toward You so that the choices of my past do not hinder me from proclaiming the goodness of God the Father. In Your name I pray. Amen.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
“No one told me how I would feel after the abortion,” said one woman, “Mary.” “One friend reminded me that abortion is legal. Another friend assured me that what I was about to do was a ‘good thing.’ Even my dad told me that having the abortion was the ‘best choice’ considering the circumstances. And at the abortion clinic, well, everyone acted as if abortion was no big deal.”
But Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion in the world, admits that nine out of ten women who have abortions suffer some trauma. This trauma is comparable to “post-traumatic stress disorder” experienced by many soldiers returning from war.
Faye Wattleton, the former president of Planned Parenthood, said, “Who believes that abortion is something other than killing?” Adrienne Asch, a former board member of the National Abortion Rights Action League, said, “It makes sense to perform abortions in the most humanitarian way possible, but there’s nothing especially humanitarian about death.” Even little girls know that mommies are supposed to care for their babies, not kill them.
Abortion is not natural. It goes against the very nature of a woman. A woman’s body is created to bear and nurture life. This is why so many women who willingly (or unwillingly) choose to have an abortion spend so long in denial. For some, it is a matter of months. For others, it is many long years.
Even the doctors who perform abortions and the nurses who assist them admit to feelings of guilt and remorse. Some hide the guilt so deeply inside that their hearts become hardened. But others express the greatest of sorrows. “I do feel you’d be an abnormal person if you could really honestly say that abortion didn’t bother you at all,” observed one abortionist. “It goes against all things that are natural. It’s a termination of life, however you look at it. It just goes against the grain. It must.” Many of those once involved in the abortion business have fled to the foot of the cross. It is there that they pray for God—and the women they have hurt–to forgive them.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Every choice makes you into someone a little different than you were before the choice.” When we make a choice contrary to God’s will, we can either continue to rebel against Him or we can seek harmony with God, others, and ourselves. Only the Holy Spirit can bring such harmony. Only the love of God can bring peace to our souls.
Regret for an abortion and the sadness that follows such a decision may never completely disappear. On the anniversary date of an abortion, it is not unusual to experience flashbacks or depression. Certain sounds may trigger memories of the procedure. Spring, with its burst of new life and hope, is often a time of depression for the mother of an aborted child. Some women, when in the presence of children, may wonder what their child would have looked like or what they might be doing today.
God promises to bring comfort and “bind up wounds.” Think of how faithful God was to His rebellious people, the Israelites! His own chosen people constantly disobeyed, and yet God said, “[F]ear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
There is no need for self-inflicted punishment. Instead, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8).
Dear Jesus, thank you for reaching down into the pit of my life and rescuing me from despair. You won the victory over all that is evil. You cover me with mercy and love. Because of You, I have a future and a hope. In Your name I pray. Amen.
“I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
“‘I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Those were the words,” confided a young wife and mom, “that for a long, long time I did not believe could be meant for me. I was convinced that abortion was just too big a sin for even God to forgive. But now, when my pastor speaks those words, I know peace. There is peace with God… and with myself. It’s true! I am truly reconciled with God through Jesus Christ!”
Every experience with sin is different, yet the consequences are the same. There is guilt. Anger. Despair. Heartache. King David was a man of integrity, revered by his people, and chosen by God to lead with wisdom. But he committed a grievous sin (2 Samuel 11).
“[T]he thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27b).
One sin led to another. There was adultery, conspiracy, and murder. As a result, David and his family experienced painful consequences. A child died (2 Samuel 11; 12:1-23). King David’s pain is recorded in Psalm 32:3-4 and Psalm 38:3-10. All was not right between David and the Lord. Sin brought physical illness, psychological grief, and spiritual despair to the house of David.
God did not want David to be lost in such pain and despair. Nor does God want the mother, father, or grandparent of an aborted child to be lost in pain and despair. God reaches out to all of us when we are the most unlovable and suffering from our own despicable behavior. Even in his pitiful state, King David had a choice. He could doubt God and continue to be “lord” of his own life, or he could repent of his sins and focus his eyes on God’s goodness, justice, and mercy. David chose to call upon the Lord God and repent. He was truly sorry for his sins.
God waits for us to call. Sometimes He waits a very long time. “I still feel guilty even eight years after my abortion.” “In ten years, I have not found the courage to talk about my abortion with anyone.” “My abortion was fifty years ago, and in all that time, I feared for my soul.” One of the ways that God reveals His goodness to us is through His patience. He knows that abortion is a sin preceded by other sins such as adultery; living together outside of marriage; sexual promiscuity; patterns of selfishness; rebellion against parents; and refusal to fear, love, and trust God. During all of this, God is patient.
God does not want us to feel pain or experience despair but, far too often, that is what needs to happen before we fall on our knees and turn our eyes to heaven. At such a time, God wants us to confess ours sins and express true sorrow, ask for forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and joyfully accept His response, “Your sins are forgiven … Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Jesus to the sinful woman in Luke 7:48, 50).
No man or woman can be satisfied with their goodness when standing in the presence of the holy God. But mourning our unworthiness and sinfulness should be of short duration because God has said, “I will not remember your sins.” If God, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, will not remember our sins, should we carry their burden unnecessarily or leave it at the foot of the cross?
Forgiven by Christ our Savior, we are set free to become God’s instruments of hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). What does it mean to abound in hope? It means to thrive, flourish, and even prosper. When we move out of darkness into light, it is almost certain that we will have a positive effect on those around us.
“[I]f we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Dear Jesus, You know my sins and my shame. You took upon Yourself the punishment I deserve and have set me free. I believe this, Dear Lord. Now help me to live my life as a child of God and in gratitude to You. In Your name I pray. Amen.
For the days ahead …
Only God can heal the sin of abortion. As the Creator of life, only He can forgive the wrongful taking of a life. The Creator of life is also our Father and, unlike our earthly father who is not without sin, our Heavenly Father’s love for us is perfect and without flaw.
You may feel very alone in the sorrow of your abortion, but you are not. There are many others who are grieving their abortion in silence. The Spirit of God helps in times of silent weakness. “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Through the Holy Spirit, all who are broken can claim God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit can and will work mightily in your life. He will help you get past your pain as you seek the Lord’s plan for your life. It is then that you will be fully involved with life again. You will no longer need to defend your decision to abort your baby. You may continue to mourn the loss of your child, but you will be enabled to focus on God’s mercy and justice for yourself and your child. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can believe that God has forgiven you and, in turn, forgive yourself. Trusting that God has a good plan for your life, you can learn from your abortion experience and look ahead to a future of hope.
It is important not to hurry the healing process. As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you can be a source of comfort and joy to others—in God’s own time.
For help with hope and healing, contact Word of Hope (888.217.8679) or visit www.word-of-hope.org.
or your local caring pregnancy center.
Entrusting you to Jesus Christ,
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in the history of the universe! And you can take that personally! It validates Jesus’ payment on the cross for the sins of the world—and for your sins. It guarantees the certain hope of resurrection from the dead and eternal life for all who believe—including you. Yes, take it personally! The Apostle Paul did. He begins 1 Corinthians 15 by listing Jesus’ resurrection appearances. Then he continues in verse 8, “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
Paul was unique in the list. Everyone else followed Jesus. Paul persecuted Jesus. “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (vs. 9). Yes, Paul was unworthy. But he knew he had a worthiness that came from Christ because of those two words, “to me”!
We at Lutherans For Life (LFL) pray that you will have a blessed Easter and that you will take the Resurrection of our Lord personally and know the worthiness and hope that comes from those words, “to me.” He appears to you in His Word of Life. He appears to you in His Water of Life, Holy Baptism. He appears to you in His Meal of Life, Holy Communion.
I also pray that you will understand the power of this message for those who feel unworthy today. A woman with an abortion in her past wrote, “I didn’t feel worthy of anyone’s love, and I went through life wishing that I were dead.”
Or like the college freshman, unmarried, pregnant, afraid. “I was raised to be ‘good.’ How can I tell my parents I’m not so good anymore?”
Or the ailing, elderly woman in the nursing home who says, “What good is my life? Why am I still here?”
One way to look at the ministry of LFL is that we want to help people take the Easter message personally, especially those who feel “untimely born” or unworthy or burdened. We want people like those I mentioned above to know the mercy and hope in the words “to me.”
We need your help to do so. Please help us share the Easter message with those dealing with difficult issues of life and death. Your gift may help someone take Easter personally!
So what exactly do we do with your money to accomplish this? Many things! We are a multifaceted life ministry that seeks to equip Lutherans to connect the Easter message to the whole range of life issues in a wide variety of ways.
We produce written materials—brochures, booklets, Bible studies, downloadable posters, bulletin inserts, worship services, sermons, and curricula. (You can order them from the Sanctity of Life section at www.cph.org.) And people take them personally.
A pastor wrote, “I always thought the biotechnology issues like stem cell research, cloning, and in vitro fertilization were too complicated to deal with in my congregation. But your resources on these were easy to understand and based solidly on the Scriptures. I use them extensively.”
Another pastor sent a note to Lori Trinche, our mission and ministry director, and said, “My kids are still talking about how much they enjoyed your visit and the Owen’s [Mission] babies. I’m glad you were able to make such an impression on them and the importance that every life matters!” Later he wrote, “I’m amazed at and thankful for all the topics Lutherans For Life covers.”
LFL offers DVDs, PowerPoint sermon outlines, and online audio. People take them personally.
“Your DVD on end of life issues gave me a whole new perspective on how Christians face these issues and helped me and my family through some difficult times.”
LFL hosts a website that abounds in Word-based information. Many of the items above can be downloaded from the website. People take it personally.
A Lutheran school teacher said, “You have a fantastic website. I use it all the time when teaching on these issues.”
LFL maintains the only Lutheran post-abortion hotline in the country. Through Word of Hope (www.word-of-hope.org; 888.217.8679) we provide Christ-centered counseling to hundreds of women and men who feel “unworthy” because of an abortion decision in their lives. They take it personally.
“I will never forget talking to the director [of Word of Hope], Grace, for the first time. She loved me unconditionally, and with her help I accepted the reality of what I had done and began to accept God’s forgiveness for my sin of abortion.”
LFL has a full time staff person dedicated to helping the younger generation address the life issues and giving them avenues to DO something about them. Y4Life touches many young lives every day. They take it personally.
One student in particular has been so touched by her experiences with Y4Life that she has attended Y4Life in Washington D.C. twice and attended a Y4Life Servant Event. She said of her latest trip to Washington in January, “Being surrounded by so many people at the March for Life, who support the same thing I do, makes me believe that our generation has the potential to change the world.”
LFL makes use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as YouTube and Vimeo—along with a frequently updated blog on our website. People take it personally. About our Facebook presence, an LFL member wrote to say that it was a “beautiful page full of all things Life. I look forward to keeping up more easily with LFL and its marvelous message.”
LFL oversees a frontline structure of people resources—state affiliates, chapters, life teams—all over the country. These people are involved in a vast array of practical, hands-on activities. People take it personally.
I pray that you can see that a gift to LFL does more than “fund an organization.” It funds a ministry that touches people’s lives with the message of the single most important event in the history of the universe—the resurrection of Jesus Christ! AND people take it personally. Lives are changed and lives are saved.
Easter is a great time to commit to such a ministry. Your gift will do more than either of us could imagine.
Once again, allow me to wish you a blessed Easter celebration and Easter season. And remember, take it personally!
In addition to your gift, whatever size it may be, I also ask for your prayers for LFL that the Lord may continue to use us to make a difference in people’s lives.
It occurred to me that the parable of the Good Samaritan could be a good For Life parable. Almost simultaneously, I thought how tempting it would be for good, solid, life-affirming folks to point to the Good Samaritan walking along the road and say, “You’ve got to be like him.” Pastors might say it their congregations. Members of congregations may say it to their pastors and to one another. “You’ve got to be like him. He was pro-life! You’ve got to reach out to the vulnerable. You’ve got to protect and defend the unborn, help those in crisis pregnancies, reach out to those hurting because of wrong choices, show compassion to those suffering with chronic diseases, disabilities, and terminal illness. Yes, be pro-life like the Good Samaritan.”
Inherent in such admonitions may be a slightly arrogant attitude. “I am like the Good Samaritan. I’m pro-life. I am so pro-life that I know truly pro-life people do not use the phrase pro-life anymore, but ‘life affirming.’ I’ve got it right. You need to be like me.” Yes, it is tempting to start there. A lot of folks do. “Be like the Good Samaritan who walked along the road.” But Lutherans can’t start there. We need to start in the ditch.
If we are going to be like anyone in this parable, we need to start by being like the man in the ditch: beaten, bleeding, helpless, forsaken, and left for dead.
We have a lot of ditches in Iowa. In the winter they are often filled with snow. The wind blows that snow into white waves—drifts of varying shapes and sizes. As long as they do not engulf the road in front of you, they can be quite beautiful. But if we have one of those “January thaws,” the beauty melts away. The melting reveals dirty snow, rotting animals, garbage, used diapers, and a variety of empty adult beverage containers. The ditch is a filthy place to be.
But that’s where we need to start. We need to be people of the ditch. For when you melt away the facade of our self-righteousness, it’s pretty dirty in there. We see a corrupt and rotting nature, one that is beaten, bleeding, helpless, forsaken, and left for dead. But that’s good. Because then, when we realize our utter depravity, we might just be able have a very finite understanding of the infinite compassion shown by this Guy who came walking along the road. He didn’t have to show compassion. He didn’t even have to stop. But He did stop. Then, astonishingly, He got down in the ditch with us!
Several years ago I received a letter from a post-abortive woman and I have been quoting her ever since, especially the part where she wrote, “I never realized that Jesus Christ was willing to get down into my muck and miry life and lift me up out of the sewage of my problems. He has since shown me who He really is.” Jesus is not only willing to get down into our mucky and miry lives, He did. He came into the filthy ditch of our lives as He hung upon a cross, beaten, bleeding, helpless, forsaken, and left for dead. He absorbed the filth of our sin into Himself. He heals our wounds with His wounds, stops our bleeding by His blood, prevents our death by dying, and lifts us up and gives us new life through His resurrection from the dead. He covers our impurity with His purity as the snow in Iowa will undoubtedly cover those filthy ditches in white once again. “[T]hough your sins are like scarlet, [ditch-dirty] they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
He brings us in to this “whiteness,” this new life through faith in the waters of Holy Baptism. He provides for our continued healing and growth as we recall that Baptism and as we share in His holy meal. He sets us back on the road with the certain hope of our own resurrection and eternal life always before us.
Now we can walk along the road and be like the Good Samaritan, or more precisely, be like Christ, or more precisely yet, be Christ who, by virtue of our Baptism, lives within us. As we walk with resurrection hope before us, we keep our eyes in the ditch. We look for the lost, the beaten, the bleeding, the helpless, the forsaken. When we see them, we dare not walk by on the other side. We cannot walk by on the other side. We cannot pick and choose. We cannot look at certain of the vulnerable and say, “That’s too controversial, I’m not touching that.” We cannot look at certain of the vulnerable and say, “That’s a political issue, I’m not touching that. It might make me unclean. People might not like me. We could lose our tax-exempt status.” The love of Christ does not tell us we should reach out to all the people of the ditch; the love of Christ compels us to do so.
So when we see the embryo “in the ditch,” in that petri dish—vulnerable, helpless, and destined for destruction—we are compelled to speak and defend and help. And not because it is the right thing to do or the moral thing to do, but because it is the Christ thing to do. Our God became incarnate as an embryo, giving value to all embryos.
When we see the unborn “in the ditch,” vulnerable, helpless, destined for destruction, we are compelled to speak and defend and help. And not because it is the right thing to do or the moral thing to do, but because it is the Christ thing to do. His hands that were pierced and the body that died and rose again were formed in a womb giving value to all who have resided there.
When we see the young woman in a crisis pregnancy “in the ditch” vulnerable, helpless, feeling destined to make only one choice, we are compelled to speak and defend and help—because it is the Christ thing to do. As He got down in the ditch with us, we get down in the ditch with her. We lift her up and offer Christ’s compassion in real practical ways.
When we see the post abortive women and men “in the ditch” vulnerable, helpless, destined perhaps to their own destruction, we are compelled to speak and defend and help—because it is the Christ thing to do. As Christ, we get down in the ditch with them. We offer healing that can only come from the objective and complete forgiveness in Christ. We lift them up and walk beside them.
When we see those suffering from disease or disability “in the ditch” vulnerable, helpless, destined by many to assisted suicide or euthanasia, we are compelled to speak and defend and help, because it is the Christ thing to do. For Christ reveals a God who knows about suffering not just because He’s God, but because He suffered. We have a message of a God present in suffering, at work in suffering, accomplishing His purpose in suffering.
As we “walk along the road,” we do so as citizens of this country. We are compelled to pray for our president, our representatives and senators, our supreme court. We pray for change in our policies and laws and in the attitudes of those who make them.
But we also walk along the road as citizens of heaven. We walk united in Christ. We walk remembering our unique perspective as Lutheran Christians. For we know what it is like to be in the ditch, and we know Who came into the ditch to save us. We know the power of His crucifixion and the power of His resurrection to heal and restore. We know His messages changes hearts and changes lives. That is the message we are called to proclaim. That is the message we are called to be. We are people of the ditch who get down in the ditch and help people of the ditch. It is the Christ thing to do.