t is one thing to sign a petition, stand in a protest line, hold a sign saying “Thou shalt not kill!” or vote for a candidate who espouses a right-to-life platform; it is another to help provide care and shelter for an unwanted child. The difference is the church’s becoming a solution for the un-aborted but unwanted child.
The apostle James wrote, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (1:27 NKJV). The Greek word translated as orphans means “being without, bereft, or bereaved.” It represents children who have lost parents as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or death. Thus, the difference between the kind of worship that God desires and worship that is “defiled” is how we care for the unwanted child.
It is not enough for the Church of God to cry out against abuse and abortion—we must open our hearts, homes, and finances to hurting and unwanted children. Godly mercy is more than recognizing those in misery; it is alleviating the despair.
Eighteen years ago, a woman faced the decision to abort or continue her pregnancy. She was incapable of adequately caring for her toddler son, and another child would just add to the problem. For whatever reason, she decided against abortion. We could all stand and applaud that this child did not become a statistic. Yet for the mother, things only got worse. Unable or unwilling to care for Sharon, she finally abandoned her. One societal evil was replaced with another, and Sharon was truly “without.”
Frightened and grieving, Sharon was brought to the Church of God Smoky Mountain Children’s Home. There, houseparents became her parents and cottage mates her sisters—she became part of the Home’s family. Sharon excelled in school, became part of a vibrant youth group at Parkway Church of God, and grew into a beautiful young woman with many talents and gifts. She eventually graduated high school with honors. Today, Sharon is a freshman at Lee University on academic scholarship. What a difference the church made for Sharon!
Another girl, Katy, was raped! As if the trauma of the violation and violence were not enough, a constant reminder of that awful event was the child growing inside her. She was pregnant, and as an immigrant worker she had no hope of raising a child. Health-care workers recommended an abortion, but Katy refused. The Children’s Home received the call about Katy, and one of the shining moments for my life will always be the moment Katy placed her child in the arms of an adoptive mother. A Church of God pastor and wife had a newborn child, and the child had a forever family.
A speaker at one of our Children’s Home staff meetings commented, “When God shows the church a problem, He will show us how to be part of the solution.”
Wherever we cry out against wrong, our message must be tempered with mercy that responds with an answer of hope and healing. There is no greater example of this in every community than the church not only crying out against abortion, but also opening our heart, homes, and finances to make a life for the un-aborted but unwanted children around us.
In every sermon exposing the evil of abortion, half of the message should challenge the Christian community to become a place of hope and healing for unwanted children.