How fascinating it is to watch people meet, greet, and get to know one another. It is almost like a dance; some form of courtship, where you try to present yourself in a light that you perceive the other might find pleasing and aspire to call you a friend. Invariably every time this type of meeting occurs, the question comes up, “What do you do for a living?”
It is at this question that I personally hesitate to say that I work at My Life Clinic. This hesitation does not come from the fact that I am embarrassed by my job, nor from the fact that I believe that abortion is not an option. It comes from the fact that I simply do not like confrontation.
You see, when I respond that I work for Life Network of Central Missouri, the reactions of my counterparts vary. Some respond with enthusiastic support -how relieving. Some state that they admire the efforts of people who are pro-life, but they don’t know where they stand on the matter -relieving however must make wise word choices. Some claim they believe it is a woman’s choice and respectfully disagree with my line of work -disappointing, but we can still have a pleasant conversation. Finally some declare they believe it is a woman’s choice and they are astonished that any intelligent human being would believe otherwise -I want to curl up in a little ball and hide.
Is my reaction appropriate? Well, if I were to argue that an attempt at peacekeeping was an innate human sense of self-preservation then, yes, of course! However, in reality, my identity is not found in merely being human. My identity is found in Christ. With that statement come ramifications, the list of which is endless.
To endeavor exploring one, as believers we have to be okay with being counter-cultural. Clarifying on that, not counter-cultural in being irrelevant to those you interact with, but counter-cultural through a difference in thinking and beliefs. Now I fully acknowledge I am not an authority in the area of being counter-cultural. In fact, theologians and pastors such as Francis Schaeffer or Tim Keller are far more equipped to address this. But to delve a little more, how does one who holds counter-cultural beliefs and values respond to their society’s groupthink?
In Matthew 22, Jesus clearly states that the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In fact, this commandment is reiterated throughout scripture. So what could it look like to act out of love towards those who disagree with you? Tim Keller, an author and pastor, makes a statement on tolerance. “Tolerance isn't about not having beliefs. It's about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”
Tolerance is not to be confused with complacency or acceptance. Tolerance could mean - acknowledge that there are differences in opinions and respond in a way that neither condones those differences nor lacks compassion. Can we as believers level-headedly respond to a difference in opinion, especially when it deals with something as significant as human life? The short answer, yes, and it is essential if we ever wish to make headway in the fight to preserve human life.
There are beneficial components to exploring why someone believes what they do. Gentle questioning can reveal the roots of ideas and beliefs. It can be astounding how such adamant opposition to the pro-life cause can be based on very commonplace misconceptions.
In an attempt to correct misconceptions, I am announcing the Fact or Fiction series. This series will explore different topics and ways of thinking about the pro-life stance. Its main intent is to prompt our readers to think critically about how to respond to others in the community that might not have the same degree of understanding or acceptance of those who cherish all human life. We will explore various forms of misconceptions as well as how misconceptions are perpetuated in society.
I look forward to embarking down this path as it will provide opportunities for growth and reflection. It is my hope that you will join me and that we can learn and grow together.