What does the Bible say about being pro-life or pro-choice?
For the Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king. He will care for us and save us.” –Isaiah 33:22
May we start this week’s meditation with a trick question: What would Jesus say about abortion?
We can almost hear protagonists from both sides of the debate screeching forth to claim Jesus on their side. On what basis? Did Jesus ever speak about abortion, whether in parable or by innuendo? Do we hear much about abortion in or out of the Bible in first century Palestine? This much we can confidently declare – there were no records of abortion clinics anywhere, the subject is hardly mentioned.
Why go back centuries? When the hippie movement unfurled on the world in the early sixties, even then, abortion was not a freely discussed subject. Those who got into trouble, along with those who got them into trouble, found their own ways and means of getting the poor “trouble” out of the way. Many may have felt it was intuitively and morally wrong, but knowledge was restricted, and those who got the “trouble” out of the way explained that the embryo is not really a person yet, so what’s the fuss about? A few minutes of discomfort, of simply removing the unwanted embryo with a simple surgical procedure instead of going through the pregnancy, shame, and embarrassment that came with it, hey, come on, it was not such a big deal, they felt.
Now for the past forty years, the issue has begun to divide the world in two hostile sides. Both sides wave statistics and fiery opinions to say their view is the only right way. And what do you know? Both sides have Biblical scripture to back what they are saying.
- Exodus 21:22-25 is used to argue that the Bible itself holds that a fetus is not as alive as its mother
- Numbers 5:11-31 is used to convey that the Bible feels abortion is preferable to being born an illegitimate child
- Genesis 2:7 is the strongest ‘proof’ of the pro-choicers. The “breath” argument is the key point. They say the Bible equates life with breath, as a person does not begin breathing until born, they are not living persons in the Biblical sense until they are born, say those who are pro-choice.
- Ezekiel 37:10 is also brought forth to establish that in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, the bones came to life only when “the breath came into them.”
- Jeremiah 29:14-17 is the pro-choicers mightiest weapon. They point out that in spite of God giving divine status to the prophet Jeremiah while he was in the womb, Jeremiah emphatically rejects this for himself. Later, he wishes he had been aborted!
- Psalm 139:13,15 clearly speaks of God’s activity in creating a human being in the mother’s womb, so no power on earth should be allowed to destroy what God has created.
- Galatians 1:15 shows Paul telling the Galatians that from the time he was in his mother’s womb, God had set him apart and “called me through His grace.”
- Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17 says it very bluntly, “Thou shalt not kill.”
- Matthew 7:12 tries to reason it out by advising, don’t do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
- John 10:10 sees Jesus saying unambiguously, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Hence, to return to our original question, is Jesus\the Bible pro-life or pro-choice? Rephrase that – should a Christian be pro-choice or pro-life? As far as we can see, the Bible puts it this way: “A Christian is (not someone who is pro-life or pro-choice but) someone who has accepted God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Salvation is a gift of God through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9). 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When we give our lives to Christ, He begins to change us: our way of thinking and our way of behaving ( Isaiah 55:7). Our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Our minds are renewed through the truth of God's Word (Romans 12:1-2). Our attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors gradually change to be more like those of Christ (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22).
Now this can be interpreted either way, and there are only 3 verses that we would like you to reflect further on before you make up your mind:
- Luke 6:37. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Pro-lifers are forbidden by God to condemn the Pro-choicers and vice versa. God will reveal which way He is inclined, in His own unique way. We refuse to comment on the statements that Hilary Clinton (despite the whole world being positive she would win) faced humiliating defeat because of her Pro-choice stand. God did not appoint us or any Christian to pass verdict of any kind, but just to be “sons of God” by bringing about peace between warring individuals. Let’s face it, neither side is going to convince the other by screeching or trading insults. If you belong to one of the sides and believe you are the righteous one, then simply pray for the other side. Then God will change their hearts – or yours!
- John 13:34. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” We must never dare to ask Jesus a question about morality unless we are prepared for Him to raise the bar. Did it not sound downright generous of Peter to ask if it would be enough to forgive someone up to seven times? Jesus dismissed his generosity, by saying, “Seventy times seven.” The same principle holds true regarding any moral question.
- Romans 12:16-18. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud … And don’ think you know it all!...Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Empathy in our definition, means the ability to get into someone else’s skin and to think from there. What do you think could be the reasons that make a woman or man be pro-choice? Could it be that some of these have often been told bitterly by their parents that they were forced to have them, they did not want the child, but the church would not let them abort it. Could it be that some pro-choicers have had a series of abortions, and want their stand to be validated or vindicated? Likewise, could pro-lifers include mothers who have yearned to have children but have turned out barren, and so great is their despair when they think how desperately they want to hold a newborn in their arms … and instead, they see other women slicing little fetuses to death?
- Proverbs 17:8. “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.” Imagine you are pro-life, and you sat the whole day arguing or even gently debating with someone who is pro-choice. Would either side give in to the other? We do not believe so, because on these sensitive issues, views are fixed, and arguments add turn hard to rock. What would work more is prayer and gentle tolerance which are also known to have changed the world.
Would Jesus be Pro-life … or Pro-choice? We honestly do not know (His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways, our ways!!). However, it is very likely He would gather the pro-lifer into His tender arms and calm down the storm of weeping, by reassuring, “Do not fret, I am there, I have overcome the world, I will be with you.” He would do the same to pro-choice persons, he would put His protective arms around them, promising them His healing, His joy, and His capacity to make “all things new.”
While not knowing about Jesus’ Pro-life or Pro-choice inclination, we dare to say first and foremost – Jesus would be Pro-love.
What about you?
-By the NLTCE Network Team