Awakening an Apathetic Younger Generation
A few weeks ago I was ministering outside an abortion clinic. It was a bitterly cold day and all I could think about was counting down the minutes until I could leave. Nothing but my own conscience was forcing me to be there but I would rather have been anywhere else. An elderly gentleman, a missionary named John, was also there. We got to talking and I found out that he walks 45 minutes to the clinic multiple times a week, rain or shine, and stands out there for about 3 hours. He has been standing up for the babies in front of abortion clinics for 40 years…40 years! The thought of that immediately filled me with admiration. What love for God and the babies, what dedication, what perseverance! It also filled me with dread and shame. I thought about where we stand in the fight today and my heart sank at the thought of having to stand out there for another 40 years…or longer. And here I was, complaining to myself about how cold it was and how much I didn’t want to be there. I thought giving an hour and a half of my time one day a week was good enough. Yet John, a man twice my age, was giving twice that amount of time.
It seems to me there is a growing problem within the Christian pro-life movement. Because the Roe v. Wade decision was made over 40 years ago, there are many today who have never known life apart from abortion being “legal”. My generation has grown up with abortion on demand being the norm. While we fully believe that from the moment of conception every person is made in God’s image, and to end a pregnancy at any stage of development is to commit murder, we’ve allowed ourselves to become apathetic to the urgency that faces each baby as mothers walk into a clinic. While it’s certainly not the only way to speak out against abortion, ministering out in front of the abortion clinics is crucial to the immediate needs of the babies and moms. This is the very last chance we have to intercede for those who can’t speak for themselves.
John’s story got me thinking about others who minister out at the clinics and I realized that for the most part it’s an older generation who are the dedicated “regulars”, a small number of people doing the majority of the work. Where is everyone from my generation?! Why do we continue to put the burden on those who have already been in the fight for so long? Isn’t it our turn, while we’re young and energetic, to do the work necessary to see abortion abolished once and for all? If we truly believe that innocent babies are being murdered at these clinics, why do so few of us see the need to be there?
I dare say, the reason for my generation’s absence is that they’re just plain apathetic. They know babies are being murdered by the thousands every day and yet they go through life complacent with the status quo. Ask any one of them and they’ll tell you they want to see abortion abolished; they apparently just don’t want to do the work necessary to see that happen.
Perhaps they see the problem as too big and too complicated to realistically think anything can be done to stop it, so why bother? They know abortion won’t end over night, it was here before them and it’ll most likely be here after they’re gone. The thought of putting in any great effort for a long period of time (anything more than a few weeks or months) seems pointless. So long as they have their prolife bumper stickers, wear all the prolife gear and post prolife memes on Facebook they feel they’re “doing their part”.
Maybe they’ve just been so influenced by this culture of ease that it’s hard to care much about anything. It’s no secret the world bombards us with the message that we should care more about ourselves and doing what makes us happy than putting the needs of others first. Apathy is nothing short of selfishness, a love for one’s self above that of the one in need. The Bible has much to say about apathy and never in a positive light. Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Peter 1:13-16 and Revelation 3:15-19 are just a few verses to reference.
But before I get labeled as self-righteous, I have to admit, I speak from experience when dealing with this problem. I don’t have a desire to stand out there holding a gruesome picture of an aborted baby, trying to break through the barrier of “death-scorts” who mock and smirk when moms, who more often than not, walk in without giving me a second glance. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time, especially with my days off. Sometimes I wish I had a few good excuses for not being able to go: the clinic is too far from where I live, I have small kids who can’t be out that long or in such bad weather, I have to work, etc. But alas, I’m single with more than enough time on my hands to justify staying home. And even on those days when I do cave in to any one of the “great” excuses I’ve come up with, I feel like Jonah, running from God when he was told to go to Nineveh.
And so I go. I go because it’s something that is so much more important than my own feelings of comfort. What’s a few hours of my time each week compared to the life of a baby scheduled for death? I go to share the burden with those who have tirelessly been at it for years, decades even. These veteran pro-lifers are dedicated to making sure somebody is standing outside the clinics every day they’re open. The more people that go to minister, the fewer hours each person has to be there. I go because I’ve seen how lives can be changed when we put forth even a meager effort to reach out to these women. Sometimes all they need is to hear that there is someone who cares about them. I go so that I don’t give in to the apathy I know I am so prone to. We all have sins we struggle with, but Christ tells us to overcome those sins (through Him). We certainly shouldn’t practice them.
Every Age has its evil and abortion has been America’s evil for the past four decades. Obviously the Bible doesn’t directly command everyone to minister at an abortion clinic, but it does command us to love our neighbor and to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. What better way to apply those commands than to intercede on behalf of our pre-born neighbor out on the streets when they need it most? There may be legitimate reasons for not being able to minister out at the clinics and it’s certainly not my goal to bash people over the head with guilt if they’re not able to do so. I just think for the most part we’ve allowed our apathy to dictate how we obey the commands God’s given us.
If you still don’t feel like you need to be ministering at a clinic on a regular basis then ask yourself, what are you doing in the fight to abolish abortion otherwise? Is it contributing to the immediate needs of the babies and their mothers? Does it cost you anything; your time, energy, money? If so, great! I hope this article only encourages you more.
If, however, you are prone to being apathetic regarding the needs of the preborn, repent!
Ask God to renew a right spirit in you as David did (Psalm 51:10). Romans 12:10-13 and 1 Corinthians 15:58 are good verses to keep in mind as well.
It’s been said that abortion won’t end until Christians decide it should. Let’s stop saying we want it to end and start acting like it should.