Are Those Being Aborted Our Neighbors?
ARE WE LOVING THEM AS OURSELVES?
By Rolley Haggard
Dec 9, 2014 7:13 PM
The apocryphal story is told of a man who, hearing Christ's reply to the Pharisees regarding the Greatest Commandment, and having purer motives than they, subsequently went to Jesus for further clarification.
“Master,” he said, “I really do want to please God. I want to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and might. How, practically speaking, do I do that?”
As the story goes, the Lord looked at him and, perceiving that he really was in earnest, said, “The First and Greatest Commandment is fulfilled by obeying the Second Commandment, which is like the First. You demonstrate that you indeed love God when you go and love your neighbor as yourself. The one who says he loves God whom he has not seen, but does not love his neighbor whom he has seen, deceives himself. In truth he loves neither. But the one who, for God's sake, loves his neighbor as himself, loves both his neighbor and God. For God loves your neighbor—indeed, He loves even your enemy—and if you also love your neighbor, then you honor God by loving what He loves. But if you do not love your neighbor like God loves him, then neither do you love God. That is why I said the Second Commandment is like the First, and why I said on these two Commandments hang all the Law and prophets.
A purely apocryphal story, to be sure. But as related scriptural truths are incorporated into the account, it provides illuminating commentary on one of the most important ideas in allthe Bible: that God really wants us to take this “love your neighbor as yourself” thing seriously.
Which brings us back to the question: Are the preborn American babies who are being aborted at the rate of 3,500 per day our “neighbors”?
The Wrong Question
Frankly, it's the wrong question to ask. Why? Because it's just an evasive rehash of the age-old question “Who is my neighbor?” And I hesitate to answer that, not because the answer isn't clear and unequivocal, but precisely because it is. We already know the answer. Every human being is our neighbor. We shouldn't have to ask the question. To ask a question the answer to which we already know suggests a desire to sidestep the implications.
Such contrivances aren't new. It is exactly what happened the first time the question came up. We all know the story: In the run-up to the parable of the Good Samaritan, an expert in Jewish law asked Christ how one inherits eternal life. But he wasn't sincere. Luke says he was testing Jesus. The Lord put the question back to him to reveal his duplicity: “What does the Law say?” He asked. The lawyer correctly answered, “That we should love God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.” One can almost hear Christ's thoughts: So you already know the answers to these questions, don't you? The lawyer, aware his hypocrisy had been detected, sought to cover it up.Wanting to justify himself, he asked, “And who is my neighbor?”
Isn't that just what we are doing? By not acknowledging that those being aborted are, indeed, our neighbors for whom we have direct responsibility, aren't we in effect asking, “Who is my neighbor?” just like the lawyer? According to Christ, “Who is my neighbor?” is the wrong question to ask because we already know the answer. It is merely a dodge to avoid responsibility. By it we subtly seek to justify apathy and inaction towards those who desperately need our help.
The Right Question
So what is the right question to ask regarding those being aborted? In a sermon on The Good Samaritan titled “Love Your Unborn Neighbor,” John Piper points to it:
“The question about what kind of man is dying is not even in the story any more. The whole focus is now on the kind of people who are walking by. The first two felt no compassion. The Samaritan was a different kind of person. So when you get to the end, what’s the question Jesus asks? Was it, 'So was the wounded man a neighbor?' No. That is not the question. Jesus asked the lawyer, 'Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?' The lawyer said, 'The one who showed him mercy.' And Jesus said to him, 'You go, and do likewise.' No answer to his question: Who is my neighbor? Instead: Go become a new kind of person. Go get a compassionate heart.”
The right question, the one we ought to be asking, is not “Are those being aborted our neighbors,” but “Am I compassionate towards them in the same practical way the Good Samaritan was? Am I doing anything to save them from death?”
The point of Christ's parable was to get us to face the truth about our own lack of compassion. We already know the unborn are our neighbors. The question is, how are we, the church of Jesus Christ, loving them? What are we doing on their behalf that would make Christ say, “Yes, that is loving your neighbor and that is proof you really do love God”?
The sad truth is, we aren't doing a blessed thing. In saying this I don't mean to minimize the incalculable importance of those who are seeking by myriad peaceable means to draw attention to the plight of the preborn. But they are, percentage-wise, a mere handful.
The apostle Paul said, “No one ever hated their own body.” If each of us loved these little neighbors as we ought—“as ourselves”—we would envision having our own bodies torn limb from limb and would be unable to remain silent and apathetic any longer.
Connecting the Dots
We know the right thing to do. We just haven't been willing to do it. Scripture is unequivocal: “Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, oh hold them back.”
Abortion continues because we willfully ignore our tiny neighbors. Until we go beyond saying we believe in the sanctity of life and start demonstrating it by becoming relentless vocal advocates, the slaughter will go on and history will record the church believed it was sufficient to merely say, but not show, it cared for people.
Assuredly, we will pay a price if, in this culture of death, we open our mouths to make abortion unlawful and unthinkable. But we—and our neighbors—will pay a bigger price if we don't.
What matters most often turns on a single act of the will. We have been called to lose our lives for Jesus' sake. That means choosing to lose our lives for our neighbor's sake. These forsaken babies are our neighbors. For Jesus' sake, let's connect the dots.
“To know how to die is to know how to live.” ~ Unknown
Words—shocking as the cold Antarctic sea
Where ghostly green the lucent glaciers wend
With boat-upturning waves—swept over me:
“Who loves his life will lose it in the end.”
Like beasts we fought, two mortal men, for breath,
Obeying naught but instinct’s urgency;
Each one the other’s stepping stone from death
To thrust away unsought eternity.
“Dear God!” I cried, “O give me now the faith
To put the selfish, murderous thought away,
And grant to me the grace of one last breath
That I, to save my neighbor's life, might pray
With groans more eloquent than angel tongues;
Then,let your living water fill my lungs!”
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
This article originally appeared on Breakpoint and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Rolley Haggard is a feature writer for BreakPoint.
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