Heartbeats Never Lie

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Heartbeats Never Lie

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A teen girl walked into the pregnancy resource facility where I once volunteered. Her face was deeply etched with emotional pain, and her demeanor spoke of suffering and stress.

Our mission was to support mothers with untimely pregnancies—so the scenario was not an unusual one. But before there was any opportunity to address the grief-stricken girl, a woman stridently pushed through the door and walked to the front desk. Her face also told a story—a story of resentment and anger. She asked for her daughter “to be seen right away!”

Unbeknown to us at the time, despite the building’s signage being perfectly clear, her mother mistakenly thought she had taken her daughter to an abortion clinic. Her daughter was indeed “seen right away,” and staff assisted her through the normal process where she ultimately heard her baby’s heartbeat. The sound of the heartbeat altered the scenario from “a problem” to a baby—and not just any baby, but her baby.

You can imagine the ensuing tension when she emerged from the room. She wanted her baby!

Heartbeats never lie. Heartbeats tell of the life within the womb. However, the girl’s mother vowed the pregnancy would not continue—insisting this was not a baby, it was a mistake. The girl was terse in her response, accusing her mother of fearing the shame of neighbors and their church learning about the pregnancy. In a flash she was whisked out the door and driven to an abortion facility, which had been her mother’s intent all along.

I don’t know the rest of the story, but I do know that in trying to erase the problem, the resulting tragedy would have unintended consequences that would likely last a lifetime.

After many years I still recall the expression imprinted on the girl’s face. If only her mother had stopped for just a moment to look beyond her own disgrace to truly see, she too would have grasped what the rest of us saw carved all over her daughter’s demeanor—anguish, torment and possibly irreconcilable damage to their relationship.

This story demonstrates how easily emotions can surge and overwhelm people confronted by an unintended pregnancy, pushing them to consider desperate measures.

The unintended pregnancy

Daughters and sons, moms and dads, if you find yourself caught in a similar predicament, consider some “moral plumb line” principles prior to making hasty decisions born of shame or the prospect of altered life plans. Also understand that my intent is not to dredge up bygone pain lingering in those who mourn past choices. To you, I simply remind you of Jesus Christ’s redemptive sacrifice that makes it possible for you to forge ahead anew.

If you contact a pro-choice clinic contemplating abortion, realize the solutions presented will speak to every single one of your fears and offer a fix that promises to erase them all—and what a temptation this is when complicated thoughts and emotions rage within. “Stop, look and listen” before you cross this road. Stop—control your emotions instead of letting your emotions control you. Look—at all options and visualize how you might feel 15 years from now about your decision. Listen—to Scripture (Numbers 32:23 Numbers 32:23But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
American King James Version×
), because sin always has consequences.

If circumstances will not allow raising a child, consider what a blessed gift adoption would bring to another family. As has been said, “There is no such thing as an unwanted child; there are only ‘unwanting parents.’”

Recognize the inspiration others find in those who choose to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. When you step up to the plate, you encourage others to do the same. Your choice today can be a shining example to others who stumble tomorrow.

The struggle for parents who learn of their daughter’s pregnancy can sometimes be as hard for them as it is for her. If you are an impacted parent, comprehend the enormous opportunity this presents for you to exhibit God to your child, to strengthen, cherish and love her despite her stumble. But do not in any way be complicit in your potential grandchildren not being born. Remember that God can bring good out of a bad situation (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
).

Christians should carefully think through their response to those facing these difficulties. Pray before you speak! In particular, don’t be a hindrance to those who want to walk through their difficulties on a repentant path, but rather encourage them. 

Churches and the abortion problem

In 2015 the non–profit organization Care Net commissioned a national study within America. The research found abortion to be “a significant problem within churches across the country and most women who have had abortions do not view the church as a place that provides help for women facing unplanned pregnancies” “Groundbreaking Care Net Research on Abortion and the Church,” Care-Net.org, Nov. 23, 2015).

A synopsis, titled “New Survey: Women Go Silently From Church to Abortion Clinic” (Lisa Green, Care-Net.org, Nov. 23, 2015), includes these findings:

• “Nearly 4 in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended a pregnancy.”

• “In the survey of 1,038 women who have had abortions, 70 percent claim a Christian religious preference, and 43 percent report attending church monthly or more at the time of an abortion.”

• “Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) believe church members are more likely to gossip about a woman considering abortion than to help her understand options.”

• “When weighing an abortion decision, women say they expected or experienced judgment (33 percent) or condemnation (26 percent) from a church far more than caring (16 percent) or helpfulness (14 percent).”

• “While 25 percent say they would recommend a friend or family member discuss an unplanned pregnancy with someone at church, more than twice as many (54 percent) say they would not recommend it.”

“Supportive responses from the church are key, [LifeWay Research vice president Scott] McConnell said. ‘For most women with an unwanted pregnancy, if nobody is willing to say, “We’re going to help you through this,” it’s hard for them to rationally say they should keep the child.’”

Fundamental lessons from a biblical example

Take a moment to read 2 Samuel 11-12. After you've done so, contemplate the following:

• Compounding a bad decision with another bad decision is never a good idea. Be aware of the progressive component of sin—i.e., sin that isn’t repented of often leads to more and worse sins—and halt the destructive cycle.

• Seek godly counsel. It cannot be emphasized enough just how much you need a sounding board during this time of vulnerability. Seek out a supportive family member, pastor or trusted mentor—someone who will bring calm, spiritual perspective and accountability to the table. If only King David and Bathsheba had done just that!

• What you’ve already done doesn’t have to dictate what you do next. Be courageous and make the next choice a step in the right direction. Sometimes what presents itself as an “easy way out” of the short-term difficult circumstances becomes the hardest way forward in the long term.

• The real choice before you is to either refuse or accept responsibility for your choices. In King David’s case, the escalating chaos ended only when he acknowledged his sins, repented and took responsibility for his mistakes.

• Turning to God in confession of sins and repentance doesn’t mean we escape consequences, but it does begin our moral reset and the path to true healing and peace.

• Don’t let the past determine your future. Champions of faith, like King David, aren’t champions because they didn’t sin, but because they repented and didn’t let their sin define them.

• Understand that your past does not hold back God’s future work in and through you. David and Bathsheba went on to have four sons (1 Chronicles 3:5 1 Chronicles 3:5And these were born to him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel:
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), including Solomon, of whom it was said, “The Lord loved him” (2 Samuel 12:24 2 Samuel 12:24And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her, and lay with her: and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.
American King James Version×
). In the years to come, David and Bathsheba’s lineage is a thread that is woven through many biblical men and women of faith and ultimately directly to Jesus Christ.

God is in the restoration business. He is the mender of broken lives, hearts and spirits, and desires all to have a yielded and willing heart towards Him. As we consider those dealing with this very difficult matter, may we strive to mercifully support and comfort others with the same mercy and comfort “the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort” gives to us (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 [3] Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.
American King James Version×
) when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges.

 


 

My Daughter Wants to Get an Abortion—What Do I Do?

Knowing abortion violates God’s law against murder, you are distressed to see your daughter making such a choice. What can you do? What should you do?  

Consider this advice from the apostle Paul: “If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1 Galatians 6:1Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

This lays out the approach you should take with your daughter. Though you could never condone her deciding to get an abortion, do not condemn her. Christ Himself said, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17 John 3:17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×
).

Be thankful she has let you know what she’s thinking. There is still hope she will decide against an abortion. Now is your opportunity to let her see God’s character in you, as you gently and humbly try to help her make the right choice.

Now would be a good time to pray, asking God for help and grace to speak with love to your daughter. Pray for an opportunity to let her see how her choosing an abortion is not what God wants.

Since she has told you her intentions, you have her trust. Now you must build on that trust. God does not force us to make the right decisions. Instead, He leads us to the truth by His Spirit. As Jesus said, the Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 John 16:13However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
American King James Version×
). Likewise, you must lead your daughter to the right choice without forcing your will on her.

With a gentle and humble attitude, try to get her to tell you more about her predicament. You could ask questions like, “When did you find out you were pregnant?” and, “Does the father know?” Give her your complete attention and let her talk. This is not the time to tell her what to do. It’s the time to let your daughter know you are there for her and that you understand the seriousness of her choice. She needs to know that you will endure this crisis with her.

Let her tell you, as you draw her out with questions, how she arrived at her decision to abort her baby. You can ask her questions about how she feels about getting an abortion. You can ask her if she’s considered other options.

As her parent, you have a deep interest in seeing your daughter have her baby. You can convey your feelings about the life that is in her womb because that is your grandchild. But remember, you are here to help her, so do not let your emotions dominate hers.  

She is likely very concerned about her future, because having a child would greatly impact her life. There are viable options other than abortion, and you can encourage her to explore them. Crisis Pregnancy Centers will offer help with this. Volunteer to help her explore the options.

Your daughter knows you are a person of faith, so when the time is right you can help her see the big picture of God’s plan for mankind. We know that God created us, and that each life has the potential to become an immortal child of God. As David so eloquently wrote of God’s creation, “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:13-14 Psalms 139:13-14 [13] For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb. [14] I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.
American King James Version×
). We know that God gives life, and life belongs to God: “He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25 Acts 17:25Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things;
American King James Version×
). 

When your daughter tells you she intends to abort her baby, it can be an upsetting and emotional moment. You know it’s wrong, and she may also have her doubts about her decision. But be thankful she has come to you with this news. This is an opportunity to let God’s love and mercy shine in you. With prayer and the help of His Spirit, using a gentle and humble approach, you can be of great comfort and help to your daughter, as you seek to rescue her and her baby. Showing deep care and loving concern, you may help her see that having an abortion is not what God wants her to do—and that He will support her in her choosing to follow His will.  

You cannot force your daughter to make the right choice, the choice for life. You can gently guide her, but you can never make the choice for her. Whatever choice she makes, take comfort in the knowledge that God is in control of all things and is deeply merciful. Those who’ve sinned can still seek and find forgiveness. And in His Kingdom, life will be restored to those deprived of it. He will ultimately right every wrong and “wipe away every tear” from our eyes (Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×
). The sinful practice of abortion will no longer be an ugly stain on the world. All the peoples of the earth will know the high value God puts on life. May God’s Kingdom come soon!

This is one of hundreds of Bible questions and answers on our website. To find more, search for “Bible questions” at ucg.org.   

 


 

Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

by Don Hooser

Confusion and misunderstandings often occur over the definitions of terms. What does “pro-life” mean? What does “pro-choice” mean? Let’s consider these words from a biblical viewpoint.

To say God is pro-life is an understatement. God is the Creator, Sustainer and Protector of life. One of His Ten Commandments prohibits taking life (Exodus 20:13 Exodus 20:13You shall not kill.
American King James Version×
). God is also pro-choice in the sense that He created human beings with freedom of choice. He does not control us in a way that robs us of the freedom to choose our own way.

Human life is an ongoing series of choices. But not all choices are equal. There are wise and foolish, good and bad, and right and wrong choices. Some would have us believe that one choice is as good as another and merely a matter of personal preference.

Such thinking is based on the idea that there are no absolutes. But there is absolute truth. The Bible is God’s revelation of ultimate truth. Jesus Christ said in prayer to God the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version×
). The Ten Commandments summarize God’s standards of right and wrong. God doesn’t force His standards on anyone. He does, however, reveal what is right, show some of the consequences for our actions and exhort us to choose what is right. But then He leaves it up to us to choose.

For example, God instructed Adam and Eve, forewarned them of consequences and allowed them to make their own choice—and then they paid the penalties for their wrong decision. God inspired Joshua to tell the Israelites, “. . . Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”—whether the false gods of the pagans around them or the one true God (Joshua 24:15 Joshua 24:15And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
American King James Version×
). In Isaiah 65:12 Isaiah 65:12Therefore will I number you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but did evil before my eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
American King James Version×
;God pronounces judgment on the Israelites “because, when I called, you did not answer . . . but did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight.”

For unborn babies, parents should choose life rather than death. Abortion is the wrong choice. God is pro-life. He abhors people of their own will taking the lives of others, including killing unborn babies.

The terms pro-life and pro-choice have taken on additional meaning in many countries. Politically speaking, pro-life refers largely to people seeking legislation and the help of courts to outlaw or restrict abortion. Pro-choice refers largely to people seeking the opposite—to remove restrictions on abortion.

Though God is pleased with the goal of saving babies, one must not assume God approves of all tactics, especially when they involve physical harm or destruction of property.

Human efforts and legislation will not be the ultimate solution for the evil of abortion or any of the other evils of society. What this world so desperately needs is a change of the human heart from selfishness to selflessness, from carnality to caring. What we need is a change from spiritual blindness to a clear understanding of right values.

Rather than a philosophy of hedonism (“If it feels good, do it”), we need to consider the long-term results of sexual promiscuity—rampant venereal diseases, broken homes, shattered relationships, drug abuse, suicide and, yes, the continuing slaughter of the innocents conceived from such unions. They have certainly done nothing to deserve some of the most nightmarish deaths one could imagine.

We desperately need to learn God’s perspective of right and wrong. For most of mankind, this will not happen until Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.

In all our thinking, God encourages us to choose life—life in general as well as the way that leads ultimately to eternal life. He tells us, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
American King James Version×
, emphasis added).

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