Note to pro-lifers: get messy

It’s time for all of us to step outside our comfort zones.

Sometimes standing for life requires us to get messy. (Photo credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha on Flickr)

Do you like to get messy? Strange question, I know, but stay with me. I mean, okay, there are the randomly cool people who like to compete in Tough Mudder races. There are people with grass-stained football uniforms or sweaty hockey jerseys, and then there are the occasionally awesome parents who get in the dirt and the flour and the crunchy leaves right with their kids. Personally, I love to squish mud in between my bare toes. (You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing that odd factoid.)

But now that we’re thinking about messes, let’s take our discussion over to the pro-life issue. There are the clean, pristine options of getting involved – options like praying hard for an end to abortion; collecting blankets, formula, and diapers for a crisis pregnancy center; and maybe things like data entry or web work for your local pro-life organization. Those are wonderful ways of getting involved and actually doing something. I sincerely applaud anyone and everyone who takes a stand for innocent life.

Have you ever asked yourself, though, if you are willing to get messy? It’s not easy to talk with a teenage girl or a woman who’s considering abortion. If she chooses abortion, you may always wonder if you said something wrong. You will cry. You may even experience guilt for years. I know.

It’s not necessarily fun to stand outside abortion clinics and try to talk to the women going in. Who likes to be ridiculed, yelled at, arrested, ignored, and sometimes physically assaulted?

It’s hard to decide on adoption and to accept a new child into your family who may be bringing medical, psychological, or other issues with him. You’ll never know everything your adopted child may struggle with or wonder. You may always be curious as to if he really sees you as his mom and dad.

Yet when we think about these and other messy situations, is it really about us and our feelings? Is it about our questions and preferences? Or is it about stepping out of our comfort zones and being willing to stand on the front lines for those who cannot speak for themselves? Is it about putting our actions where our hearts are and challenging ourselves to do more?

I’ve been ridiculed by a crowd of my peers. I’ve been humiliated by a group of medical experts. I’ve been joked about as the target for a church shooting. I’ve been named as a wish “target” for miscarriage and rape. I’ve been shut down in court. I’ve battled with guilt and failure. So what? So what? This life is not about me. What I do in the pro-life movement – far less than many, I know –  is no more than I ought to do. In fact it is less – far less.

I have so far refused to stand in front of an abortion clinic. I’m scared beyond belief to do it. I believe I would be a coward and would feel guilty for the rest of my life for not walking into the waiting room and announcing the truth to every woman there. I fully believe we each have our gifts in the pro-life movement, and we don’t need to do things we’re not good at when we’re much better at something else. My point is that we must all be willing to step outside the personal comfort zones that envelop us.

Invade the darkness; don’t just surround it. Battle the evil; don’t just poke at it with sticks. Refuse to surrender to weakness; ask to be made stronger. Reject guilt and failure and fear; know that every step you take does indeed make a difference. And speak up for the truth; don’t just believe it in your heart.

Since the election is inevitably approaching our doorsteps, let’s mention it for a second (and then I’ll go away). Only you can answer the questions I’m about to ask. And I’m asking them about every race, not just the presidential election. In your voting decisions, are you willing to place life above your pocketbook, regardless of your views on the economy? Would you rather vote for a third-party candidate (or no one at all) so that you can assure yourself that you had nothing to do with even a single baby being aborted, or would you rather get messy and vote for someone who would save some babies, though not all of them? Would you rather save the 99 and come back for the 1, or would you rather abandon all 100 until you can save all 100? Are you willing to struggle with questioning your vote because the candidate wasn’t perfect, but at the same time to know that you chose the most viable person who would save the most lives? Or would you prefer to sleep well at night, assuring yourself that you didn’t vote for any candidate who had a single exception to abortion or a single chance in Atlantis of winning?

I’m not giving answers. I’m asking questions. And I’m saying that we can’t escape from a messy world and messy decisions. If we run away so that we can feel good about ourselves, the mess goes on. There’s one way for us to stop it: get involved. Do something. Insert yourself. Don’t stand back, wash your hands, and claim “holiness.”

For those of us who are Christians, it’s easy to want to run away sometimes so we don’t have to question ourselves. If we stand apart from all the mess, we won’t have a single speck of dirt on our bodies, right? But we need to ask ourselves if that’s really what Jesus did. And I’d say no; no, it’s not. Jesus inserted Himself right into this messy world – right with the prostitutes, tax collectors, and criminals. He didn’t become one of them. But He did insert Himself into the mess, regardless of what the “holy” people said. He was willing for people to talk about the mud on His face so that He could actually change the world. And change it He did.

That said, I’m about to go smear some mud on my face. You ready to join me?

Editor’s Note: Live Action cannot endorse any federal candidates. This article is not an endorsement, but simply the opinion of the author.

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