There are deep divisions today in our nation that are seen in issue after issue.
But perhaps there is no greater divide, with such irreversible consequences, than the Pro-Life/Pro-Abortion battle. On one side are the voices of those who claim that the life in the womb is precious, of immeasurable value, and worthy of defending. On the other side are the shouts of those who claim the choice of the mother outweighs the right of her little one to simply live. And most recently the pro-abortion voices have embraced a new mantra: #shoutyourabortion. So a tragic choice that ended a life, has now become a movement that pridefully celebrates ending the life they conceived.
Since the beginning of time, the dominance of the stronger over the weaker has been a dreadful trait of mankind. We see the first example of this evil philosophy when Cain took the life of his brother, Abel. It’s worth rereading the short account of this story:
“One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” (Genesis 4:8-10)
Since that first murder, the strongest have sentenced to death millions of lives over thousands of years, with this culture of death continuing today. But there truly is no greater example of the strong taking the lives of the weak than in the loss of our nation’s little ones in the womb. These innocent lives, formed by their Creator, are tragically being silenced by their mothers. No words can adequately describe the sorrow, loss and permanence that abortion does to its greatest victim.
But, for all the words that have been written and the voices that have been raised in decrying the curse of abortion, there is one voice that has never been heard. And yet it is this voice that counts the most.
When God reproached Cain over murdering his brother Abel, He convicted Cain with these words: “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me…”
Were God to confront our nation today about the awful scourge of abortion, I believe He would say something similar: “Listen! Your childrens’ blood cries out to me…”
This is the missing voice: The Silent Cry.
We’ve all heard the cry of a little baby shortly after birth, as it simply longs for the cuddle, caress and love of her mother. But have we stopped to hear the silent cry of the one that was snatched from the womb before she took her first breath? Have we paused to consider her voice? While her voice is silent, her message is loud, clear, and convicting, if we will be still and listen.
This matter of eternal consequence has divided our nation into three groups.
The first group is perhaps the most pressing one. If you are carrying an unwanted pregnancy and considering an abortion even today, will you stop and listen? Will you hear the silent cry of the little one in your womb, who longs to look in your eyes, to feel your embrace, to know your love, and to simply have the opportunity to live?
Before you add one more cry to the millions of silent cries that rise up across our nation, I pray you will stop and listen. Listen to your child’s heartbeat. Envision him or her in your arms. Consider the beauty of her face. Trace the outline of his features. And embrace life today.
The second group within our nation includes those women and men who have already chosen abortion. You may be one who succumbed to the lie that your choice trumped the life in the womb. If so, then you know your choice was irreversible. But your guilt over that choice can be reversed. God, the Author of life, is also the One who forgives. There is no choice that you and I have made that God does not offer to forgive — even the one that ended the life of your little one. Go to Him. Confess your sin. As you do, He promises to forgive you and to grant to you the peace that passes all understanding.
The final group within our nation is where most of us reside. We are not pregnant. We have not had an abortion. But we have a choice to make. Will we stop and listen? Will we hear #thesilentcry? Will that silent cry cause us to reevaluate our thoughts, our actions, and our choices? As we listen to #thesilentcry, will we decide to make the following choice?
“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”
As we apply the Golden Rule to the life in the womb, may our nation collectively and each of us individually do to the little one yet unborn, what was done to us by our mother and father.
Embrace life. Reject death.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:13-16
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death… Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your children might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19
This last weekend the nation’s elite journalists came together at the White House Correspondents Dinner, for an evening of roasts and toasts, all under the guise of humor. But while the night featured laughs at the expense of others, Michelle Wolf, the comedian hosting the WHC Dinner, stooped to a new low as she belittled Americans whose crime is simply supporting life over abortion.
While Wolf’s attack was crass and deplorable, what was likely lost in her comments was an inadvertent admission that few pro-abortionists have been willing to make publicly.
It has been a long standing argument from those supporting the taking of innocent life, that the child in the womb isn’t really a child… rather it is simply tissue, just a “fetus” or some other “sub-human” entity. However, those standing on the side of life have accurately referred to the child in the womb as simply that, a child or a baby. Logic would suggest that if a child is a baby outside the womb, she is also a baby inside the womb. And since this is true, then the baby in the womb is as deserving of the right to life as she is the moment she’s in her mother’s arms.
So here’s what Ms. Wolf said:
“He (Mike Pence) thinks abortion is murder,” Wolf said, “which, first of all, don’t knock it ‘til you try it — and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there…”
Webster defines “baby” as “a very young child.” By her use of the word baby, Wolf acknowledged what her own conscience had no doubt already informed her of. I have no doubt that millions of other pro-abortionists, if they were honest, would also admit the same. That little body inside a mother’s womb is a baby, receiving the same gift of life from her Creator as every other individual walking the face of this earth received.
So on this I agree with Michelle Wolf. The baby outside the womb is also a baby inside the womb. The life held in the mother’s arms moments after birth is also a life moments before, when she is held in the mother’s womb. So if we can agree on this truth, then can we not also agree that all life is deserving of protecting and nurturing?
Finally, God’s Word, the Bible, has something to say about what Michelle Wolf did this last weekend when her words spoke what her conscience knows. In Romans 2:15, we read, “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”
At the end of the day, God has made each of us so that our own internal conscience affirms to us certain basic truths. What could be more basic than the truth that a baby is deserving of love and life, regardless of where she makes her home?
I remember first moving to Chattanooga when I was 18. Excited to move south, I was eager to complete my college education and then launch out into the real world.
Having grown up in Madrid, Spain, I was accustomed to pollution, given Madrid’s awful track record in the 1960’s and ’70’s. But despite this, one of the first things I noticed as I settled into my new home city in Tennessee was its own pollution. It was just a decade earlier when Chattanooga had been declared to have the worst air pollution in America, and there was no avoiding the dirt, filth and smog.
But nearly forty years later, one of Chattanooga’s claim to fame is the way in which it acknowledged its worst standing in America. As the #1 polluted city, Chattanooga put a plan in place to tackle the scourge for which it had become known. Government officials, agencies, businesses, and civic leaders all came together to lead in confronting the literal cloud that hung over them. Today Chattanooga is known for its vibrant and rejuvenated downtown and is now regularly acknowledged for the beautiful city it has become.
But in spite of the pride Chattanoogans have for the city we all love, there is another pollution that is much more serious than the smog and dirt that permeated our air just a few decades ago.
I was recently reading in the Bible in Numbers 35:33 (in the Old Testament) and I came across this astonishing statement: “Murder pollutes the land.” Stop for just a moment and let that statement sink in. I wonder how many of us have ever truly considered the impact that a murder has on a city, or nation?
Of course, murders happen everywhere. But in some places murders happen in more frequency. Chattanooga is one of those places. Sadly, in 2016, Chattanooga ranked as the #9 most dangerous cities in America for crime (in the under 200,000 population category). Much of the reason the city known for conquering its air pollution problem, sank to a #9 ranking in crime, is due to its increasing murder rate.
If murder pollutes the land, then Chattanooga is being polluted at an ever increasing rate. But unlike the air pollution of the 60’s and 70’s, the impact of murder is a permanent one. The loss of a life is perhaps the worst kind of tragedy that one can experience. The families, friends, neighbors and co-workers of a murder victim are forever changed.
Americans are known for our interest in cleaning up our environment, protecting our natural resources, and generally tackling problems until we find their solution. But to date, the pollution of murder in Chattanooga is not seen as a crisis for our city. And until it is, or until we begin to recognize that murder is polluting our land, I fear we will continue to see this scourge poisoning our lives and that of our fellow citizens.
I have come to realize this truth over the years: “That on which we focus we excel.”
To date, Chattanooga has offered much lip service to tackling the scourge of murder in our midst, but the focus has been lacking. And by focus, I mean across the board, from all corners of our community. The underlying factors that brought us to a #9 rating did not happen overnight, anymore than sinking to the worst air polluted city in America did. And just like reversing our air pollution took a multi-disciplinary approach, likewise, saving lives by reducing our murders will require the same. Government officials, agencies, courts, business leaders, churches and individuals must all come together to lead in finding the solutions. And we must continue to do so until the solutions work. Unless or until we do, the pollution of our city will continue, and likely worsen.
In the second half of the verse in Numbers we read this: “No sacrifice except the execution of the murderer can purify the land from murder.” While it may sound insensitive or old fashion to some, the truth is that prompt and commensurate punishment is a strong deterrent to crime. So when it comes to the taking of life, the way to purify the land from this pollution is to execute the one who took the life. This is harsh, but this is justice. And this is God’s remedy.
Finally, I have learned that what we see on the outside flows from what is in the inside. The murders and other crimes we continue to see proliferated through our city and nation are merely a symptom of what is inside us. Until we clean up the pollution inside our own lives, we will never clean up the pollution of murder, as hard as we try.
So what about it Chattanoogans? Or for that matter Americans, since murder happens across this land. It’s time to step up and tackle the pollution of murder in our midst.
“…for murder pollutes the land.”