Friday, November 02, 2012

As Political As Ever I'll Get

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.  Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. -1 Peter 2:13-17

A couple of years ago, I was in the habit of taking my writing notebook into Applebees in the evenings after choir or play practice at church and sit and penning a few paragraphs there while feasting on their half-price appetizers after 9pm.  One nondescript Thursday night, after spending my evening at church directing our latest skit, I was doing just that.  Usually the servers could tell that I wanted to be alone and would generally leave me as such; but tonight, I had been seated in the section of a young male waiter who was obviously not getting the hint.

After several minutes of him trying to engage me in conversation, to which I responded politely but succinctly, as I really had some Very Important Writing to get done, I happened to mention that I had just left church.  His interest was immediately piqued.  Standing by my table and totally abandoning his side-work  all he wanted to do was talk to me about faith.  He told me that he had been raised in a household where his father was Catholic and his mother was Pentecostal (or perhaps the reverse, I forget which), and they hadn't done a great job of making things clear for him.  He was understandably confused and seeking answers.  (I've since gained some rather strong opinions that children can most certainly be raised well in faith even if their parents are of two different denominations, given the right amount of openness, maturity, and mutual respect, but that's another thought for another time.)

When we started talking, I'm ashamed to admit, I secretly wanted him to just leave me alone.  I wanted to write!  I had things to do and I didn't have all night - I didn't want to bothered with talking to someone I didn't know.  It literally took God speaking to me in His still, small, yet very commanding way that this was more important than my writing and I needed to give him my full attention before I really got it.  Yes, I know how that sounds.  I'm not proud of it.

As soon as I really started engaging with him about God and faith, he actually slid into the booth opposite me and got very serious.  "I have to ask you a really important question," he said gravely.

Oh no.  I prepared myself for the worst.  The question of salvation?  Purgatory? The rapture?  What was he going to ask me for which I was probably by no means doctrinally or knowledgeably prepared?

He looked me right in the eyes and stared me down as he asked, "What do you think about abortion?"

I was honestly shocked.  I was taken aback, really.  Why did a 25 year old guy care about abortion?  It wasn't like he was ever going to have one.  I  barely thought about it, and I'm a woman!  For a minute or two I was silent, trying to make sure I even knew what I was going to say, and then make sure it came out right.  Eventually, I said something like this (though perhaps I've added a touch of elegance in the retelling):

That's a very tough question.  It's a very hard thing.  For me, I can say that I would never have an abortion.  I could never do it, ever.  If I had a friend who was considering abortion, I would be so heartbroken for her.  I can't even imagine.  I would pray with her, I would cry with her, and I would read the Bible with her.  Ultimately, I would counsel her to not have the abortion and instead give the baby up for adoption if she didn't want to keep it.  But I hope I never have to be in that situation. Also, I would never judge someone else if she told me she'd had one, and I would do my best to show God's love to her as I do with everyone.  I would just be so sorry she had to go through that.

He seemed satisfied.  I think he told me it was the most real answer he'd ever heard.  Praise God.

If you de-construct all that, what I said is that I'm anti-abortion, but pro-choice.

I believe the Bible.  I believe what God says, and I try the best that I can to live my life accordingly.  I believe unswervingly that accepting Christ as our Savior is the correct choice for every person's life and the way to Heaven, and ultimately that a relationship with God is what everyone in our country should seek with all their hearts.

But here's the thing:  not everyone believes what I do.

God gives us a choice.  In fact, He gives us the ultimate choice:  whether or not to follow Him.  To love Him.  To serve Him.  To accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.  He doesn't force us - He gave us free will.  

If God Himself gives us free will, it's not up to the government to force us to believe, or to institute governmental rights based on beliefs that not everyone in the United States holds.

I believe that when the decision in question comes down to something that separates us from God, then that decision should be between that person and God.  Not between that person and the government.

What political party do I affiliate myself with, you may ask?  Well, unfortunately, both sides are made up of people, and people are imperfect, so as a result, I really don't affiliate myself with one or the other with abject loyalty.  I vote for the candidate and the party whom I feel will be the most fair.  You're free to take that as you will.  Ultimately, though, politics don't really matter, because God's law is supreme.  Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, they've got nothing on the Creator of the Universe.

This election is important. But what's most important is who you elect to be the Lord of your life.  That choice goes way beyond the next four years:  it affects eternity.


Alice in Dairyland said...

So, I found your post on Dear Wendy... and clicked on your blog to randomly sorta stalk you. I read this post, and I wanted to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Although I have my own opinions about abortion, they are just opinions. And just as how you would never force your own personal choice upon another person, I would never force my choice on another person. It's nice to read something from a Christian perspective that is so live and let live.

So thanks!

Elisse said...

Alice - Thanks for your lovely comment! I'm glad you stopped by. I have strong, deep faith but I try very hard to live by the rule that loving others is ultimately how Jesus wants us to live. I'm glad you appreciated the post. :)

Take care!