Saturday, 24 October 2020
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Scene from the movie Unplanned Scene from the movie Unplanned Unplanned movie

Why the life-affirming mission makes me pound the table and shed a tear

I stared in horror at the screen, hand clapped over my mouth, eyes welling. Much as I wanted to, I couldn’t seem to look away from the gruesome scene. 

I was viewing an instructional video, part of an optional curriculum our clinic used years ago, containing live footage of an abortion. 

The scene I will never forget took place just after the abortion, as metal pincers grasped the aborted fetus’ limbs, poking and prodding to get all the parts accounted for. 

As the tiny limbs wiggled with unnatural, forced movement, I wanted to scream, “Leave it alone! Haven’t you done enough?”

I knew the baby had already died. I knew I was watching a video. But I desperately wanted to stop the desecration of this little one’s body.

Outrage and grief overwhelmed me as the image seared itself into my memory. In that moment, I knew I had to do something about the evil of abortion.

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Whether or not pregnancy centers should use graphic images to teach abortion education is debatable. I understand the logic on both sides of the issue. 

Such images may be too much to bear for post-abortive mothers and/or sensitive individuals. Having said that, images bring reality home—reality which can otherwise be obscured with deceptive euphemisms and self-righteous pontification.

Consider Adolf Hitler’s speeches about creating a better Germany by taking care of “the Jewish problem.” Compare his would-be idealistic rants with photos of piled up corpses at Auschwitz. 

Which one matches reality—the euphemistic words, or the image of what happened? 

Today’s Holocaust involves similar language. Aborting an unplanned baby is called “taking care of the problem.”

Tweet This: Today’s Holocaust involves similar language. Aborting an unplanned baby is called “taking care of the problem.”

But abortion is a cruel, violent, gruesome means of killing an innocent, preborn child, no matter if it’s by dismembering or by poisoning. 

Recently, my husband and I watched the movie “Unplanned.” Once again, I tightened my fists and shook my head and shed tears. 

I flashed back to that moment as a new volunteer, driven to fight the evil of abortion by the haunting image of a baby lying in pieces on a cold metal tray, poked by inhumane pincers.

It was a painful, defining moment.

As part of the Master of Theological Studies degree I’m currently working on at Regent University, I’m taking a class in Spiritual Formation.  

To help us understand our individual sense of calling, my professor Dr. Diane Chandler asks us, 

“What makes you pound the table and shed a tear?” 

My personal response is the same as yours:  the life-affirming mission. 

We’re reading a book for class called The Kingdom Life. Around Holy Week, we read the chapter called “Formed through Suffering,” which offers a unique insight into the value of not only human life, but of our physical human bodies specifically.

Chapter author Peggy Reynoso describes her anguish after her teenage daughter Paula was killed in a car wreck. Paula was thrown from the vehicle and crashed against a concrete barrier. Her body was so damaged Peggy didn’t recognize her in the casket.

Two weeks after the funeral, Peggy was lamenting in prayer over how broken her daughter’s body was.

“As I relived the horror of her shattered body with God, His quiet voice spoke inaudibly, ‘I felt that way, too.’ I was shocked into silence as I remembered that He, too, was a bereaved parent.”

Peggy describes her difficulty in comprehending God the Father was hurt by seeing His Son’s body destroyed. She had always thought of God as being above such feelings, since He had made the decision to sacrifice His Son for the sake of the world.

She came to realize that, when Jesus went to the cross, God the Father suffered along with the Son.

Yes, He knew the Resurrection was coming…but He grieved in anguish at what was done to the body of His Son.

Back to the scene which changed my life. 

The reason I froze in horror and covered my mouth, the reason tears stung my eyes and my stomach lurched, the reason I got angry and wanted to yell, “Leave the baby alone!” is that God wired me with a sense of justice.

I felt what He feels.

God hates injustice and evil and wickedness. He especially hates seeing the bodies of His most vulnerable, innocent image-bearers—bodies He Himself lovely knit together—destroyed. 

We can’t possibly read the words of Scripture and not get that.

“You even took your sons and daughters you bore to me and sacrificed them to these images as food. Wasn’t your prostitution enough? You slaughtered my children and gave them up when you passed them through the fire to the images.” –Ezekiel 16:20-21

Here’s a little background I offer in Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion:

“Thousands of years ago, Israel’s pagan neighbors worshiped a god named Molek by heating up a large iron statue of the god with fire, and then placing their newborn children on its iron arms to be burned to death. God vehemently forbids his people to practice such unthinkable evil (Leviticus 20:2-5; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35). 

Abortion is less visible and more private than these ancient practices, but no less destructive to the innocent victim. Nor is it any less reprehensible to God.”

The pro-abortion crowd loves to use the “my body, my choice” mantra. God calls little ones “My children.”

This is about their bodies—bodies God their Father created.

Does God forgive abortion? With repentance, yes, He does. Mercy triumphs over judgment—praise God for that.

But let’s not make the mistake of assuming He feels nothing when His innocent, preborn children are dismembered or poisoned in the womb.

God feels more than what I felt watching that video. He feels more than what we’ve felt watching “Unplanned.”

He feels more grief, anger and sorrow over every abortion than we can imagine.

What makes me pound the table and shed a tear over abortion?

God’s heart, broken for His children.

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.com. Her first book, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, inspires and uplifts the pregnancy help community. Her latest book, Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World, helps 8-12 year-olds embrace the truth of Imago Dei and develop a strong pro-life ethic. 

Website: www.susannemaynes.com

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