Angela Chininin Buele
Prepare to Have Your Non-judgmental Standards Shaken Up
If only we had known how much death would result from one birth. If only we could have seen it – and stopped it. Would you have stopped the nightmare before it started? I wouldn’t have (either time), and I’ll tell you why.
I feel anger swell up in me when I hear a news report of someone being hurt or neglected. Sometimes it causes me to have a very physical response, which is like a surging sensation that urges me to enact change to rescue the victim or punish the perpetrator. To the best of my understanding, and thanks to common grace, this is not an unusual phenomenon. It is also quite normal to think that our emotions are an appropriate guide for just action. This could not be farther from the truth. Instead, when something harmful happens, it’s like a rock is thrown through the glassy surface of a serene lake, and our emotional reactions are like ripples in the water’s surface that obscure the reflection of God’s glory. Just as James says, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Our anger does not cause us to be righteous. But, God’s righteousness will cause us to become angry in some circumstances, and that is a completely different – and sanctifying – experience.
Just as parents are required to apply discipline with love in order to raise the child to seek the God of Life, we are called to be agents of light, seeking the good of the city where the Lord has us. And when that brings the conflict of protecting some people from others while loving them all and pointing them all to eternal hope in the Savior, Jesus, we are often at a loss to do this properly since we lean more on the “good guy” and “bad guy” labels than we might realize. But this is exactly where we need to wrestle as Jacob did and hold on tight until the Lord grants holiness in the merging of just redirection and steadfast grace and hope. I’ve been parenting for just a few years now, but I see that showing compassion to the offending child (not just to the offended child) is both my greatest ambition and my greatest weakness in raising my children, whom I love with a rather giddy affection. But the crazy thing is that I am called to show that very same just redirection and steadfast grace to those for who I have no natural delight or affection. Would you say you would find that an appalling proposition too? Well, it’s a good thing we have the gospel to remind us of our own debt of sin.
If we were to apply vigilante justice to prevent heartache, would we not have to erase Saul the persecutor, and with him would go Paul the missionary and teacher. Adolf Hitler’s life is over, and we see no redemptive fruit within his personal life. But we may praise God that Cecile Richards is still alive and still has the opportunity to repent of her complicity in the systematic massacre of millions of humans of all races. We must pray for her, my friends, to be justly redirected and for her to be changed by the steadfast grace and hope found only in Christ.
Key Question: Can you see both Adolf Hitler and Cecile Richards with compassion, or have you judged one or both to be without hope?
Unshakable Truth: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” Ephesians 2:12-13.
Hitler, Richards, and I have one thing in common – our need for forgiveness. My awareness, in light of their apparent unawareness of this fact, must cause me pain, not pride; sadness, not satisfaction. I wouldn’t not wish for one who champions death to be aborted simply because that would make me a hypocrite in my own anti-abortion position, but I stand up for the right to life of all pro-choice proponents because they are God’s creations and can be brought as near as a precious brother or sister by the blood of Christ.
The Real Choice: Will you love the unlovable, or will you forget that, just as Cecile Richards was once a fragile unborn baby like those she refuses to protect, you, too, were a hopeless and rebellious sinner?