Love Across the Fence

Angela Chininin Buele

You Can’t Cry Out For The Unborn Without Crying Out For Abortionists

I attended two peaceful prayer vigils last year at a nearby Planned Parenthood facility where abortions are performed.  I wanted to hand our flowers to those gathered to pray because, well, I like purposeful visual demonstrations.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I looked out in my yard and decided that my Black Eyed Susan bush was just the plant to serve as bright spot on a stormy August day.  And they were.  I handed them out to upwards of 100 people throughout the crowd in attendance that day.

Then in October, my mums were in full bloom so they were cut to be handed out at another prayer vigil.  This event, though held on a perfectly sunny fall day, drew a much smaller crowd.  Because the number of flowers I had brought far outnumbered those gathered, I decided to recruit a few friends to insert the flowers between the black metal fence that had always been there and the new vinyl mesh fence that had been attached sometime after the August vigil.  I remembered that when people hold vigils outside of places where somebody has died, they like to leave flowers and other gifts.  So, the right thing to do seemed to use the leftover flowers for that purpose there, at the clinic.  I didn’t actually touch the fence because I pushed the flowers through by holding the stem, and it rested between the two.  You can see my restless heart trying to find a way to not technically trespass their property and still put the flowers there to remember the dead.  I honestly did not expect that flowers in the fence would get any reaction, let alone an angry response.  Well, I learned my lesson.  The volunteer escorts sent over to the fence first silently removed the flowers.  My friends and I replaced the flowers that had been removed.  I wish it had all ended there as a quiet “agree to disagree” sort of matter, but it didn’t.

When the Planned Parenthood volunteers saw we were continuing to place the flowers between the two fences, their demeanor changed.  Threats were issued and profanity was slung quite heatedly by the volunteers.  If I could reach back and put a calming hand on the shoulder of the me of that moment, I would have wanted to fall to my knees and beg the Lord to give them eyes to see the seething rage sparked within themselves by the sight of fuchsia mums.  Unfortunately, as it is always true that where words abound so also does sin, I argued, I defied, and I even tried to record a video of the incident to post it on social media.  This was wrong because this showed that I was using people to reveal the ugliness of the abortion industry instead of loving people and begging the Lord to change their hearts.  Let me say again that this was a completely unloving response, and the memory of this event has been used constantly to redirect my heart to see the people on the other side of the fence as neighbors instead of enemies.  This has not always been easy.  Yet it continues to prove to be critical in the way the Lord is emptying my heart of anger and frustration against them and filling me with sadness and compassion for those who fight for the right to end the lives of the unborn.

Key Question:  Pro-Lifer, are you treating those behind the fence with less compassion than you have for the unborn?

Unshakable Truth: “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed  thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector,  standing far off,  would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

I have read this passage multiple times in my life, but it wasn’t until I juxtaposed it to my view of passionate pro-choicers that I realized the devastating truth: I have been the self-righteous Pharisee more often than I have been the broken tax collector.  As a follower of Christ, this is a very big problem.  So I am compelled to stand here now and call foul on myself.  I have exalted myself in my ambition to see all unborn children protected from abortion.  And, in exchange, I have stoked fires of anger and disdain against other human beings – human beings who were once unborn children and who have souls that, before God, are equal in value to my own.

All I can possibly say is, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

The Real Choice:  If the tears aren’t being shed for those we know will perish embracing death, we dare not say we are ambassadors of the love of the One True God – the God of Life.

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