This is so overdue, I started thinking about this issue as it relates to our lives and our culture about two years ago specifically and started writing this post in February -- it's been sitting in the draft bin since. I think it's finally time to finish and publish it!
There are several reasons for which I've decided to cover such a controversial topic, especially still controversial within our Pakistani Christian community. It may be discussed quite a bit within mainstream Western media/politics/society: the pros, cons and everything in between, but it's still VERY much a taboo topic for us. However, in my short time on this planet I know that it's an issue that has been and probably will continue to affect us in the future.
Let me just get this out of the way right off the bat: by talking about an act that is post-sexual, I am by NO MEANS condoning extra-marital physical relations (for neither men nor women). I am also by no means under the illusion that it doesn't happen - and neither I think should anyone else be. I know many people who're about to state "Oh no! Not my kids!" and perhaps you're right, in fact I pray that you are... but then this post is not for you.
I wrote this blog specifically for 3 groups of people:
1. Unmarried people having extramarital affairs.
2. Men and women who have gone through voluntary abortions.
3. Anyone who is contemplating abortion as an option to escape... no matter what it is you need to escape from.
I won't be using any vivid images and medical mumbo-jumbo to scare you out of it - or for those of you that have experienced it - I don't want to sit here and tell you that you're doomed for eternity. Instead, what I want to do is to help you heal; help you to overcome your black hole.
That's really what pregnancy out of marriage becomes for most, especially females in our culture. There is (in most cases) a huge stigma attached to dating in general -- which is a whole other subject (and I'm not here to condone or oppose that either) BUT there is one thing I'd like to point out:
Have you all heard the quote: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
I feel like, when you are trying so hard to live a double life -- split between family, society and the part of you that wants independence/the right to "do as you please" or "see whom you please":
a) it takes a ridiculous amount of energy - both mentally and physically, to keep yourself "out of trouble"
b) your deception causes YOU far more spiritual damage than anyone else
and c) you can NOT just tell "one lie"
Clearly I'm speaking from experience here, I have lied. I know everyone has -- and the consequences I've faced gave me a greater understanding of what any kind of deceit does to a person; but I find it's especially harmful when what we're hiding is so... well... HUGE. This is when you'll find that anything you do, especially in your youth/younger adult years (and to be honest throughout your life) that you KNOW is not "right" - or against the wishes of your family (or maybe against the wishes of your church/friends/workplace/whatever it is that you hold dear) - it becomes a GATEWAY SIN.
Em, yes I made that up, I think. Just give me a chance here.
What I mean by GATEWAY SIN is that it allows us the opportunity to go deeper in our sins, and really even ADD to the initial problem with greater sin. Hiding is never easy, especially when quite often we tell ourselves that we're hiding more to PROTECT our loved ones than for our own selfishness. We allow our sin to lead our judgement and understanding, instead of God.
What does God say to us about abortion?
Honestly, He didn't actually write the 'word' abortion into the bible.. a gentleman recently warned me "not to attribute to the Word of God that which it does not contain". Does that mean this issue is settled? So God didn't say don't abort your unborn child -- but as my dear new friend (Miss Alexandra Goldy) recently pointed out after hearing that statement: "WHAT ABOUT THOU SHALT NOT MURDER?"
What about murder indeed.
God's Word not only talks about murder, but about life! In Jeremiah 1:5 God tells us that He knew us before we were formed in the womb. How could a person be known before birth if they did not exist as a person? Luke 1:15 states that John the Baptist will be "filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb", which means that the baby in the womb has a soul for the Holy Spirit to fill. The bible even talks about how aware fetuses are in the womb -- John jumped his mother's belly when he felt the presence of the unborn Jesus near him. Can you imagine that? An excited fetus!
How is any of this possible? If we believe in the bible, if we are able to hold the truth of our salvation and to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior than how could we not believe that life IS life even before we understand it to be. Not by our own calculations, but by the will of God.
Here in Canada, the issue of abortion and the beginning of life is being raised all over recently. In an article from the CBC -- they discuss how current political party leaders will be dealing with the abortion debate, and some of the issues surrounding it.
"Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, who represents Kitchener, Ont., introduced the private member's motion calling for the committee. Woodworth says current Canadian law defines the beginning of human life as the moment when a child has fully emerged from the mother's birth canal, a dated concept that needs to be re-examined in the context of modern medical knowledge.
The motion will get one hour of debate on April 26. Then it drops to the bottom on the order of precedence, and gets another hour of debate when it returns to the top of the list in a few weeks' time. The House is expected to vote on the motion either in June or September after the summer recess."
Another article via thestar.com details the ProLife movement and this weeks ENORMOUS ProLife rally that will be held in Ottawa (Thursday, May 10, 2012). Actually I'm going to be honest this one especially peeves me off because it makes Canadians -- specifically Canadian youth that are speaking up against abortion seem like mindless morons that are out for a good time, having somehow been recruited into being ProLife activists.
It's not political. Legislation that allows for legal abortion has made abortion itself a political act; but being pro life is NOT -- not for me at least, nor for the many I have spoken to. It's a matter of faith, and conviction by the understanding that God has given to us through His Word.
The issue is one that touches close to my life as a future doctor, and as one who has witnessed how abortion has affected girls in our OWN Pakistani Christian community, both here in Canada and in Pakistan. I will never "out" anyone but it's time we get our heads wrapped around that reality and realize that there are young women -- mothers who have no children because for whatever reason they felt that it would be better easier -- less detrimental to them in some way to abort the life that grew in their bodies than to face the rest of us with a child.
It literally brings me to tears. I can imagine what parents must be feeling, thinking of their own daughters and themselves experiencing that shame. Believe me I know what shame is, and I know what it feels like to disappoint my parents -- we have all gone through it to some extent. My question for us today though, is really what have we become as a community that we have so ostracized our women that they feel such fear-panic-hopelessness-confusion-shame-selfishness. Enough to give up on the life of another.
I want to share two testimonies with you all that I was blessed and heartbroken to hear at TheCall Detroit last November; one from a woman-- and the other from a man:
What's my point in sharing all this. I don't think consequences should be taken away from us -- we need consequence. It's one of the main reasons I don't believe abortion should be legalized; it takes away consequence for those who need to face their actions. God gave us consequence because it turns us back to truth. To face what we fear and when we do and we learn to turn even those hard situations and devastating moments in life back up to God He keeps purifying us. He keeps working within us. He keeps loving us and changing us and reminding us and lifting us up and saying DAUGHTER YOU ARE MINE. SON YOU ARE MINE AND I WILL NOT LET YOU FALL INTO YOUR SIN. I have bought you. I have paid in full and I will not give up on you.
The black hole that I'm talking about now is not one that is uncommon to humanity. It's not uncommon to women before us -- the shame is not one that others have not faced but we MUST learn to face it. We must learn to hold fast to God even when we make the wrong choices in life and falter. He will and He always does get us through it.
It's hard for us to look at a couple that had to marry early because they chose to have a sexual relationship before they should have. It's hard for us to respect a woman that chooses to give birth to a child out of wedlock. But it's not about looking or respecting -- it's about loving. We must still love them-- and love their children; not by telling them it's OK (because trust me they know they did wrong, and everyone in this world will make sure they know it), but as a community we need to give them a chance to face their consequences and teach them to turn those situations back up to Jesus.
There's so much more to say about this but I'll just leave you with my last thought for tonight:
Abortion is not a quick way out-- and for those who are in Christ-- it's a regret that I would never want a sister or brother of mine to face; especially not alone.