“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1955, Emmett Till, a 14 year-old black teenager, traveled from Chicago to visit his cousin in the town of Money, Mississippi. Upon arrival, he bragged about his white girlfriends back in Chicago. This was surprising to his cousin and the cousin’s friends because blacks in Mississippi during the 1950s didn’t dare even make eye contact with whites, let alone date them! Both actions were considered disrespectful. Later that day, Emmett, his cousin, and a small group of black males entered Bryant’s Store where, egged-on by the other males, fourteen-year-old Emmett flirted with a twenty-one-year-old white, married woman behind the counter. After purchasing candy, he either whistled at her or said something mildly flirtatious. (The reports on what actually happen vary.) The cousin and the others warned him he was in for trouble.
A few days later, at 2:00 A.M., Emmett was taken at gunpoint from his uncle’s home by the clerk’s husband and another man. After savagely beating him, they killed him with a single bullet to the head. Emmett’s bloated corpse was found three days later in the Tallahatchie River. A cotton gin fan had been shoved over his head and tied with barbed wire. His face was partially crushed and beaten almost beyond recognition. The local Sheriff placed Emmett’s body in a sealed coffin and shipped it back to his mother in Chicago.
When Mamie Till got the body, she made a stunning announcement: There would be an open-casket funeral for her son Emmett. People protested and reminded her how much this would upset everyone. Mamie agreed, but countered, “I want the whole world to see what they did to my boy.” The photo of Emmett’s mangled body in that open casket was published in Jet magazine and it helped launch the Civil Rights Movement in America. Three months later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus when ordered to do so. She said the image of Emmett Till gave her the courage to stand her ground.
It’s time for pro-life Christians to open the casket on abortion. We must do it lovingly but truthfully. We should do it in our churches during our worship services, comforting those who grieve with the gospel of forgiveness. We should do it in our youth and college programs, our ministries to single adults, as well as in our Christian colleges. We must help our fellow believers, particularly our younger brothers and sisters in the faith, understand what Scripture teaches about the Sanctify of life. Every man and woman is made in God’s image, what is in the womb is not some glob of anonymous cells, it’s a human being, We must develop a persuasive defense of the pro-life view that’s translatable to non-Christians, but open the casket we must. Because until we do, Americans and more importantly, Christians, will continue tolerating an injustice they never have to look at. So what can we do?
Change begins first in our minds and souls. We must reformat our thinking to a biblical worldview, confessing we’ve been often brainwashed or desensitized by a lost world. Most of us who say we’re “pro-life,” could not defend it biblically, much less sociologically. Scripture is clear: Life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Psalms 51:5).
Abortion is the termination of a human life, an image bearer of God. Abortion is a much more innocuous word than murder. The fact that it’s performed by a doctor in a clinic makes it seem like a “routine” medical procedure. Each year there are some 6 million cases of child abuse in America and just over 1 million abortions. But if you knew a neighbor was slicing up one of their children, you’d intervene. Or, if you knew they pour scalding hot water over them to punish them, you’d do something. Yet, that’s what abortion does. It either slices a small human being to death or scalds them to death. But since it’s legal in America, there’s no one to call – other than God. Let’s though call it what it is – the murder of human life and we should be horrified!
It never ceases to amaze me that if a mother abandons her new born, she can face criminal charges. Yet, with partial birth abortion, if she’d decided to instead kill her child in a clinic, it would have been completely legal, just her “choice.” Think, too, of the extreme measures we go to when a child is wanted, to save a baby that’s born pre-mature. Yet, the same baby under the same conditions could be labeled a “fetus” and legally aborted.
We must reach out with grace to someone who has had an abortion because we too are guilty. Christians often react with horror toward someone who’s had an abortion or been a participant in an abortion, yet the Bible is clear that hatred is the same as murder (1 John 3:11-15) and all of us have been guilty of verbal murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Recently, the Lord convicted and broke my heart over some anger and hatred I’d had in my soul toward some other individuals. As the Spirit performed surgery on my soul, it was a painful yet freeing process. God is the Judge not me. My heart is not innocent. And I have the wonderful privilege of sharing God’s love, His grace and mercy – that which forgave and cleansed my soul with someone who is also a murderer, even if it is a murder of ignorance.
We must become avidly pro-marriage and pro-children. Marriage is ordained by God. Children are a gift from God. It’s imperative then that we are very careful in our attitude toward both. Yet, I often hear Christians frequently speak in derogatory ways of marriage and children. Marriage is one of God’s greatest blessings! Do we think and speak of it as a blessing from God? Children are a gift from God! What’s our attitude toward our children? Other folk’s children? Do we seek to encourage other believers in their marriage? Do we encourage young parents? Do we treat children with love, respect and value…seeking to have an influence on their lives?
America needs to repent of the holocaust of abortion. Yet, most of us as Christians need to repent too in that we do not have the mind of Christ and His attitude toward sin, or His wonderful gifts of marriage and children. Life is a precious gift from God! Let’s live as though we truly believe that!