Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (79), November 24, 1986

Forgiveness is Always Available

In addressing the pro-choice position, it is easy to become bogged down in details of philosophy and politics. I am delighted that my good friend Gordon Hugenberger is addressing the details of Exodus 21:22-24 in response to the subject being raised by Candice Garrett.

Therefore I want to use this space to address the question of motivation. Not only do I care for the unborn, but equally so for women traumatized by abortion. I have counseled hundreds and am thus personally in touch with this reality.

One reason I never call abortion murder is because of the accusatory tone that such a word carries. Jesus came not to accuse, but to save. He said that anyone who calls another person a “fool” in his or her heart is morally guilty of murder and liable to the judgment of hell. I confess that I qualify on that count. I have driven in Boston traffic and have murdered other drivers in the language of my heart. (I wonder how often other drivers have murdered me?) I say this not to be cute, but to underscore the reality that all of us are ultimately subject to God’s judgment.

But if I am in touch with my own soul, then I will celebrate the offer of forgiveness in Christ and its nurturing power to equip people to choose life. In the final analysis, that is what it is all about. For women facing crisis pregnancies, the Gospel says there is hope, and as a Christian, I seek to serve women with such hope. In the final analysis , there is no human finger-pointing, for the Gospel says that forgiveness starts the moment we ask for it.

But killing is killing, whether in the privacy of the human heart, or the seclusion of an abortion clinic.If we refuse to acknowledge its reality, we deceive ourselves. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

John C. Rankin, New England Christian Action Council, 11 Pleasant St.