22 April 2007

The black cloud and the silver lining

Last week in the news, there were two very important stories. The big story, of course was the tragedy at Virginia Tech. On the scale of tragedies inflicted on this country, this is one of the worst. Yet as sad and as shocking as it was, it was by no means the worst. Think back to what happened in Oklahoma City a few years ago. And of course, there was 9/11. And actually, this wasn’t even the worst tragedy to ever happen at a school. In the late 1920’s, a man in Michigan blew up a school using dynamite. Forty-five children and teachers died. And on that sad Monday in Blacksburg, VA, 32 students and one teacher died, and 30 or so more were injured.

Yet the same week that saw this large-scale loss of human life, also saw a bright spot appear. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a ban on a procedure known as “partial-birth abortion.” A practice that is one of the most gruesome and inhuman procedures that could ever be performed by someone who claims to be a “doctor.” But, the SCOTUS got one right, and said, “This is wrong and it needs to stop.” Let's address these two stories and put them into a Biblical perspective. Because the Bible does talk about these subjects. Not these stories in particular, but the principles behind them.

First, let’s look at the VT tragedy. How did it happen? Why did it happen? It tells us in Genesis 8:21—…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth… In the wake of the rampage at VT, many people have, no doubt, been asking the same type of question. “WHY??” Why did he do it? Why was he so hateful? Why that day? Why didn’t anybody stop him? But the question many more people are probably asking, as they did after 9/11, is "Why did GOD let this happen?" They will ask questions like, Why does GOD allow so much evil to exist? Why does GOD allow so much suffering? Why does GOD let this happen or that happen? If GOD is such a loving GOD, why does He let so many bad things happen? But those aren’t really the right questions to ask. Those questions, and others like them, don’t even begin to address the real issue. The question isn't, “Why does GOD allow so much suffering?” The question really is, “Why doesn’t GOD allow more suffering? Since GOD is such a holy GOD, why doesn’t He allow us fallen humans to just wipe each other out?” Because if you think about it, that’s exactly what we deserve.

Romans 5:10—…when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son… We were enemies of GOD. We didn’t go seeking after peace with Him. But by His grace, and ONLY by His grace, He sought to make peace with us. How? We know how. Colossians 1:20-21—…it pleased the Father that in [Christ] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. We deserved eternal punishment. Amen? Yet GOD, in the fullness of His love, sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty that we deserved. He was the one who sought to make peace with His enemy. And the passage that really begs the question, “Why doesn’t GOD allow more suffering?” is Romans 3:10-18:
…it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
We don’t fear GOD. We don’t fear GOD. It’s how we’re born. We are not born to fear GOD. But what does that verse say in “Amazing Grace?” "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved." It is only by the grace of GOD that we learn to fear GOD. Is that wild or what? If you asked 100 people what their biggest fear is, the majority of the people will say, “speaking in public.” They might say, “Lions or tigers,” they might say “grizzly bears.” But how many people do you think are going to say that they fear GOD most of all?

But that’s the world we live in. That’s who we are. And the only thing that ever changes that is the grace of GOD opening our eyes to the fact that He is GOD, that He is to be feared, and that by fearing Him, we are at peace with Him. But the world doesn’t get that. The world says, “You’ve got to be strong.” The world says, “You’ve got to stand on your own two feet.” The grace of GOD says, “You can only be strong through me.” The grace of GOD says, “You need to stand on the righteousness of Christ Jesus your Lord.”

There has long been a debate over what we call “original sin.” If, when we are born, we are born with the desire to do evil, and that given the choice we will. Others say that when a child is born, he is a “blank slate”, and doesn’t know to do one or the other until they are told or shown. Well, I would have to agree with the first position, that when we are born, our desire is to do what is not right. It may not necessarily be “evil”, like we think of “evil”. But, think about it. If you leave a couple of infants alone in a room, and one of them has a toy the other one wants, what do you think is going to happen? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Child A sees Child B playing with a toy. Child A takes toy from Child B. Child #2 hauls off and whacks Child A, Child A takes the toy and smacks Child B with it. That’s not anything they learn. In fact, they don’t have to learn it. That’s the way we’re made. …the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…

Listen to Jeremiah 6:16-17—Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ Why do you think it’s so easy for us humans to become addicted to certain things? Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex, television, video games, stuff, food. You name it, we get addicted to it. How many times do you hear about someone who goes to the doctor, and the doctor tells them that if they don’t quit smoking they’ll be dead in a year? What do half of them do? They go out and buy a pack of Camels. The doctor blows the trumpet and they say, “Ah, I ain't a-listenin’.” Because it doesn’t make us happy. Well, that young man on Monday wasn’t happy. He hadn't been for a long time. He was not bound by his conscience. In fact, he was only doing what his conscience told him to do.

And for those that are asking how to prevent a similar tragedy in the future, I’d have to say that there is no “preventing”. Bad things are going to happen. Listen to what The Anchoress said on her blog:
The simple truth is that despite what the world via your television is saying to you right now…there is no solution to the problem of human unpredictability. There is no “fixing” this so that it never happens again; it will. Auschwitz happened. Stalinist Slaughter happened. The Killing Fields happened. Sarajevo happened. Somalia happened. Columbine happened. 9/11 happened. The murder of Amish School children happened. This has happened. Something else will happen in the future, and everyone will be shocked and horrified and say “who is to blame, where may we direct our helplessness into productive or self-rightelous rage, and what’s my cut of the lawsuit?”
…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth… That’s why bad things happen. That’s why it’s a wonder that when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That’s why it’s a wonder that GOD still loved us enough to send His only begotten Son. And that’s why it’s a wonder that He lets us live long enough to accept His gift of salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many people—including the students themselves—thought that they had their whole lives ahead of them.

A lot of people think they have more time than they really do. So many young people say, “I don’t have time for all that church stuff. I’m gonna party for a few years, then maybe I'll think about it some day.” Problem is, too many times, that “some day” doesn’t happen. They wrap their car around a light pole. They run their motorcycle out in front of a semi. A guy comes in and shoots up their classroom. Or, some, they just forget, never think about it again. Then, one day, they stand before Almighty GOD. Their lives are laid out before them. Then, for all eternity, they pay the most horrible price because they decided to wait for “some day.” And what's truly sad is that for some of those unfortunate students at Virginia Tech, their “some day” never came.

Well, now for the good news. Don’t think your vote is important? Well, just this past week, we saw how important our vote is in defending life. By a 5-4 margin, the SCOTUS said that the government is right in banning a procedure called “partial birth abortion.” Of course, that’s not the term that the pro-abortion people want you to use. They don’t want it to sound so messy. They’d rather call it “D & X,” or “Dilate and Extract.” Of course, it’s more like “Dilate and Execute.” Well, the SCOTUS took a step in the right direction, meaning we just may see the day when the most horrendous decision in the history of the High Court, Roe v. Wade, is finally overturned, and abortion is once again outlawed in this country.

What do we always hear from the pro-abortion people? “It’s a woman’s decision to have an abortion.” It’s not her decision to make. That is a child in there. Don’t let anyone tell you that we need to keep abortion legal because I'll tell you what, WE DON’T NEED TO KEEP MURDER LEGAL!! Planned Parenthood is not your friend!! They don’t care about any so-called “reproductive rights.” They don’t care about your health. Ask them if they would be in favor of regulating abortion clinics to the same standards as a dentist’s office. HA!! All they care about is making more money for abortionists.

And just so you know, that’s more than a “blob of tissue” in there. That is a child. They can use whatever terms they want to get you to think otherwise, but let me tell you once again, and I'll probably say it again before I’m through—that is a child!!!

This fight is different from most others. In most fights, there are two sides. In this battle, there are three. On one side you have us pro-lifers. On another side, you have the abortionists and their supporters. Then you have the women who are deceived into believing that having an abortion is not that big of a deal. Now, let me explain what a partial-birth abortion is. The abortionist breaks the woman’s water, and brings the body of the baby outside of the womb. then, while he holds the child's wriggling body in his hands, he takes a long suction device, jams it up under the back of the skull, suctions the brains out, crushes the head with a pair of pliers, and removes the dead child.

I read where Susan Estrich asked if partial-birth abortion was more gruesome than sucking the baby out with a hose and having to count body parts to make sure they got everything. Yes it is. With a normal abortion he suctions the child out, piece by piece, without having to see the child. And it is the most diabolical, gruesome thing a person can do to another human being. But with the partial-birth abortion, the abortionist has to actually hold the child’s body in his hands while he suctions its brains out. And anyone who can can kill a child with their bare hands like that and sleep at night is pretty sick.

Well, let me address the women who get abortions. They do it for a variety of reasons. Some are young teenagers who get pregnant, and don’t want mom and dad to find out. So they have their boyfriend drive them to the clinic. Or, as in many cases, a female friend, because the boyfriend dumped her once she told him she was pregnant. And this girl has been told lies by the media and by Planned Parenthood that what she’s doing isn't any different than having a tooth pulled. “It’s just a tissue mass.”

Then you have women in college, who are going along great, getting good grades, on their way to a promising career. BAM! Winds up pregnant. She buys into another lie. That for the sake of her future earnings, she should go kill her baby. Or, “terminate the pregnancy.” Many times, they don't even refer to the fact that something is in there, they just talk about her "condition." Notice the media never refer to it for what it really is—murder. But, she too is scared, she doesn’t want to interrupt her life, so she sacrifices her child for the sake of her studies.

Then you have the career woman. She’s making her way to the top. She may be married. If she's not, she's probably going out on the weekends, hitting the clubs, going home with men she doesn’t even know. Goes to the doctor one day. He gives her the news. She doesn’t even think twice about it. “I’ve come this far, I’m not gonna let a child come between me and the board of directors.”

Now, is our beef with these women? No. They have been lied to, deceived, persuaded that what they're doing is either “not wrong”, or in some cases, “is the right thing to do.” They call it “women’s rights.” But what about the child? Why should that child die just because a woman wants to make an extra couple thousand a year? Or drive a better sports car? But not only are women lied to, the men who get them pregnant are too. And I'll get back to them in a minute.

There are so many alternatives to abortion; there is really no need for it. Here in Knoxville, a girl can go to the Hope Resource Center. They’ll counsel her on ways to eat healthy while she’s pregnant, she can get advice on how to care for herself and her baby while she’s pregnant. They’ll even refer her to an adoption agency, which will place that child with parents who are just aching to raise a child.

What about girls out in the country? Well, in Oak Ridge, they can go to the Choices Resource Center, and receive the same treatment. These places even offer post-abortion counseling for women who have gone through with an abortion, only to find that after it was over, they had indeed killed their child, and they think that noone can help them overcome their grief.
Most importantly, these places offer something even more important to these women. They reach out with the love of Christ, and they share the gospel, and many of the women who walk through those doors looking for an abortion or just for help, wind up walking out as new creations in Christ.

The next group I want to look at are the abortionists themselves. Most of them have gotten their MD, but they aren’t good enough to get a decent job at a hospital, so they go into the one field where they don’t really need to be very good at doctoring. In fact, it’s the one “medical” field where the desired outcome is death. Of course, they hope that only one person comes out dead.

Unfortunately, too many times, two people walk in, and they both leave…dead. Do you know how hard it is to find statistics on the number of women who die from abortions? Many times it takes days, weeks, or months to die from the sepsis or peritonitis. When you go jabbing metal instruments into such a delicate area, something bad is bound to happen.

Now, the third side in the debate is the pro-life side. The only side that has the truth. And let me lay a little on ya. Life is not about two cells coming together. That’s not what creates life. It’s GOD who does that.
Ecclesiastes 11:5—As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
Isaiah 44:2—Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb…
Isaiah 44:24—Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb…
Jeremiah 20:15, 17—Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father…Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave…
(Can you kill something that's not already living? You can't kill an organ, you can't kill a "mass of tissue. But you can kill a child.)

Not only have the women been lied to. Not only are these abortionists in need of some serious spiritual counseling. But the guys that drive their girlfriends to the clinic need guidance too. I read a book a while back called, “Fatherhood Aborted.” It described in great detail the effects that abortion has on the fathers involved. But in the end, we’re not fighting the girls, or the guys, or the abortionists, or the activists. Ephesians 6:12—…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities…powers…the rulers of the darkness of this age… These folks are blind because they have been blinded by the god of this world. That as Satan deceived Eve, he is deceiving people today.

When some people talk about pro-lifers, the image they have is a bunch of people slapping women on the head with a picket sign. Yet the violent ones in this debate are most often those who are trying to keep it legal. Oh, and by the way, it may be legal, but it’s never safe. I could tell you about the hundreds of women who have died in the last few years because of botched abortions. And what happens to the “doctors”? Nothing. They just pack up, and move to another state.

But we are, slowly but surely, winning the debate. This horrendous practice will someday be outlawed, and children will once again be safe inside their mother’s belly. And in the wake of the tragedy earlier in the week, this just may be a bit of silver lining this country needed. May GOD have mercy on us as a country, and give to us the grace we need to fear Him.

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