"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"What are You Trying to Accomplish?"

I was with some friends on the campus of our local university, talking with college students about abortion.  With a tall kiosk covered with thought-provoking questions and pictures, we were hard to miss.  Most of the passers-by either hurried past us or stopped for a calm, thoughtful conversation with one of the staff members or volunteers.

Then I saw him walking up.  With a funny grin he came right up to one of the staff members standing near me.  We had received many different reactions that day - some people were disgusted, some were glad to see us there, and some did their best to ignore us.  Up to that point, however, no one seemed amused.

But as he walked toward us, he kept that silly grin and, gesturing to the kiosk, asked, "What are you trying to accomplish?"

The staff member explained that we were with the organization Justice for All and we were simply wanting to start healthy, peaceful dialogue on the topic of abortion.  She told the student how we talk with others about abortion, gently asking questions to present the pro-life position in a respectful, non-aggressive way.

"Does it work?" he asked.  "Yes," she replied, showing him a brochure and outlining how he could get involved if he was interested.  He wasn't interested.  He was pro-life, he said, but shrugged off any idea of talking to others about the issue.

So he handed the brochure back to her and walked away - with a grin.

Underneath the sarcastic attitude, it was a good question.  What are we trying to accomplish?  What if we don't accomplish it?  What if we don't "succeed"?  What if no law is ever passed or changed or repealed?  What if abortion in America never goes away?

What if?  Will we have failed?

Abortion has been legal in America for longer than that college student has been alive - for longer than I have been alive.  No wonder he felt as though there was no point in trying to do anything.  Abortion has always been around for us.  It's hard to imagine society without it.  What can we do about an issue that has existed legally for years (even decades) before we were born?  What do we think we can achieve?

What are we trying to accomplish?

I don't remember his name, but I remember the names of other people I talked with that day.  I remember watching Justice for All staff members and volunteers interact with people of different ages, different backgrounds, different walks of life - and very different opinions toward abortion.

Some people came without an opinion and left with something to think about.  Several people already had very strong convictions on the issue, but appreciated the peaceful, thoughtful dialogue a staff member or volunteer presented.  Others considered themselves pro-life, but were encouraged to take the next step and begin respectful dialogue with others they know.

Does it work?  For many, yes.  For others, we don't know yet.  Only in eternity will we know the true influence of our actions.  Even if no one listens, we can still be faithful to present the truth.  We can be loving toward everyone we meet (no matter their background or opinion on abortion).  We can be Christlike in everything we set out to do.  There's just too much at stake for us to keep our peace.  And most likely, at least someone will listen.  Others have.

What are we trying to accomplish?

"...to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God..." (Micah 6:8).

Justice for All's mission statement is "Training thousands to make abortion unthinkable for millions, one person at a time."  If you are interested in hearing more about the work of Justice for All and how you can get involved, please visit their website here or feel free to contact me (just leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address.  I won't publish the comment, but I'd love to get in touch with you!).

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