According to research by the abortion industry, more than half of women who undergo an abortion cite their partner's absence or unsupportiveness as a reason for choosing abortion.
Women cite concerns such as fear of being a single parent and relationship problems (infidelity, abuse, unreliability, etc.) as factors that make abortion appear to be the best or only option. Women who were studied also shared compounding factors, such as lack of family support and financial resources, feeling unable to balance the new baby with other areas of life (education, work), and fear that older children would suffer if a new sibling joined the family.
In short: the crisis in a "crisis pregnancy" is not the preborn child; the crisis is an absence of love — specifically, a lack of support, concern and tangible help from those who should love the pregnant woman unconditionally.
Enter the American church: an institution which ostensibly exists to extend God's love to others. Yet, as I've previously discussed, the abortion rate is about the same among women inside and outside of the church.
Every Sunday, we pastors preach about the love of God and the mandate to bring His compassion to those outside of His Body. If we were succeeding in this call, wouldn't the abortion rate look different inside of the church? Wouldn't our extension of Christ's love engulf the absence of love that leads thousands of American women through the doors of abortion mills every single day? Wouldn't our love look like actively seeking out the women who feel they have no support — no love — in a crisis pregnancy situation?
Brothers and sisters, the sobering reality is that we — the American church — have failed the most innocent and vulnerable in our communities. Every year in America alone, over one million women actively seek out an abortion. These abortion-seeking women comprise the most under-reached, underserved people group in our domestic mission field.
To address the question of how to help these women and their preborn children, we turn to 1 Corinthians 13, a blueprint for paradigm shift in the way church leaders and members minister to abortion-vulnerable women.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 offers fifteen characteristics of what love is and is not:
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks so evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Love suffers long. This word is used to show a duration of time. We are not talking a day, a week or a month. We are talking about until the job is done.
Abraham was promised he would be the father of many nations, and Hebrews 6:15 tells us that after he "patiently endured" he received that promise. Same word. We are talking about 25 years at least, but more likely 100 years.
We cannot give up on those we are called to love, but we must love and serve her well, regardless of whether or how that love is reciprocated.
Love is kind. Even in the midst of long suffering, we are called to be kind. This may be the hardest for some of us. Being kind over a long period of time when the recipient of your love shows no gratitude, no appreciation, and may not be kind themselves. We begin to think thoughts like, "they don't deserve my love." But let's be honest, that thought is evil.
Love thinks no evil. Blame does not help in the crisis. We too often look on a self-made crisis with little to no compassion. But in this case, there is a life on the line — an innocent life. We must look at the woman in need — inside or outside of the church — and we must want God's best for her, whatever that is and with no thought of ourselves.
But we are incapable of loving like this. We love only because God first loved us. We can only love like this if the Holy Spirit is loving through us. We in our sinful flesh are incapable, but God in His great mercy and compassion demands that we, as new creations in Christ, love like He loves us.
Agape, that often thrown around word that is so misunderstood. It's the love of Christ. There is nothing human about it.
If we allow Christ to love these women through us, invite them into the church, into our homes, into our lives, we will save babies. If women in our church know that they will not be condemned if they falter in sin and find themselves pregnant, we will save babies. And if the community sees that we love our own well, when they find themselves in a crisis they will come to that place of love and care, and we will save babies.
This is the love of Christ, and this Love never fails.