|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Christian community”
Our Bible verse for today: “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. But do this with gentleness and respect …” 1 Peter 3:15-16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Let’s get our tactics right”
Recently I was given a copy of the book “Choose Life: Answering Key Claims of Abortion Defenders with Compassion.” It was given to me as a gift from the father of the author. Dr. John Goodrich is a professor of the Bible at Moody Bible Institute. His uncle is a friend of mine and a member of our church. His father has visited our church on several occasions.
The book is a compilation of twenty essays written by medical, legal, and academic professionals from across the spectrum of the pro-life movement. The essays provide Christians with well-researched facts which can then be offered in a bold, but also calm and reasoned manner in discussions with those who promote the pro-choice side of the debate. Goodrich writes, “Christians must embody not only the boldness but the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must engage, but do so peaceably (Rom. 12:18). We must speak the truth, but do so in love (Eph. 4:15). We must bear with the assaults of our critics, but do so with “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, and patience” (Col. 3:12).”
To highlight the effectiveness of this approach, one essay notes that in the early years after the Roe v Wade decision made abortion legal nationwide, Christian pro-life demonstrators were often angry and sometimes violent. It was not uncommon to see crowds of demonstrators outside abortion clinics chanting, yelling, and intimidating women as they approached the clinic seeking an abortion. Some abortion clinics were firebombed. Several abortion providers were assassinated. For the most part, all those tactics did was scare people and make pro-lifers appear to be extreme and dangerous fanatics. And during those years the abortion rates in the USA skyrocketed. The tactic was largely ineffective in stopping abortions.
But then the pro-life movement changed tactics. Instead of angry and violent protests, the emphasis shifted to pregnancy care centers where pregnant women were treated with kindness, love, and respect. They were offered counseling, ultrasounds, information about adoption, resources for pregnancy care, financial aid, and much more. The feel and tone were totally different – and much more effective! Soon the abortion rate in the USA began to fall (and has continued to fall ever since). The more the pro-life movement practiced kindness instead of angry confrontation, the more people were willing to listen to us, and the more effective our efforts became.
There’s an important lesson in that. Almost always, kindness, compassion, and grace are what’s called for. That’s the way of Jesus. Although all of us have our moments when we may momentarily lose our temper, angry confrontation as a strategy is rarely if ever the right answer. As James reminds us, “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” James 1:19-20
Let’s get our tactics right. Let’s be bold but also respectful, compassionate, and kind.
(Join us at Oak Hill Baptist Church every Sunday at 10:00. Join us in-person if you are near-by or, if you are geographically distant or if you are a shut-in, join us online at www.YouTube.com/oakhillbaptistcrossville)
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