Yesterday marked the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. I thought about posting on Facebook my thoughts about abortion. Everywhere I looked, people were giving different arguments. Some said they were rejoicing that the lives of babies will be saved. Others wrote they were heartbroken for their friends who had their rights taken away.
I decided not to post. Mostly, I was scared of people being mean to each other in my comments. I don’t mind disagreements, but I never want to encourage people to lash out at each other, and right now, that is a lot of what I’m seeing.
Even in the midst of difficult social differences, I try to understand both sides as much as I can.
I realized that while this issue is bringing up a lot of hate from one side to the other, there are a lot of things that we all agree on as people.
No one believes it is within their rights to kill another person, even if they brought them into the world themselves. No one would condone a parent killing their toddler, or their teenager. We view each person as worthy of life, regardless of the parent’s feelings for them. We also view each child as worthy of life regardless of their parents’ capacity to raise them. We would never understand a person killing their toddler because they weren’t financially secure enough. No one- on either side- would think this is okay.
So considering that, the main difference seems to be on whether a fetus is considered a child, or a part of the woman. If the fetus is considered a child, nothing would justify killing it unless it was endangering the mother’s life. But if the fetus is considered only a part of the woman, then the woman should decide. And there is obviously disagreement on which one is true. If we get the argument down to the basics, we can understand our neighbor a little bit more. That they aren’t wanting to kill babies or take rights away from women. They are just defining the fetus differently. Or I assume.
But even if we can’t understand, can we love?
Can we love someone who believes in something we disagree with? Or can we only love people who agree with us?
The idea reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
I wouldn’t say that people who disagree with me are my enemies, but I think the point of this passage relates. Do we only love people who agree with us? Like Jesus said, anyone can do that! It takes a little more to love people who don’t agree with us and maybe even go against our beliefs in some way.
And if we decide to love people who disagree with us, how can we show this love in these difficult times? Does loving them mean yelling at them? I think one thing to keep in mind is the golden rule of doing to others what we would want done onto us. We also see Paul put love and honor together in Romans 12:10.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
And in Philippians 2:3-4, it says,
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
This doesn’t mean to abandon our convictions from God. But while we stand in our convictions, we can honor others, counting their views as significant and worth hearing. We can treat them as we would want to be treated. And I’m not sure anyone likes getting yelled at on Facebook.
During times of disagreement, we can struggle to love well, but this is a great chance to see people as God sees them: wonderful and smart and lovely. This is a great chance to love even when they aren’t like us. We can love like God does.
So, as we interact with others today, we can ask ourselves if today will be a day of anger towards our friends? Or will today be a day of love?