As millions of people celebrate the historical overturning of Roe v Wade, I encourage us to ask ourselves, where do we go from here? 

About a year ago, when abortion-related posts were once again filling social media feeds, I engaged in a conversation with a relative with a vastly different worldview. Through email, she shared in detail why she believed increased, informative sex education was the answer to unwanted pregnancies. Although I didn’t agree with some of her underlying assumptions, her response did make me think about the debate in general and the tendency to ascribe overly simplistic and personally convenient solutions to complex and challenging issues.  

I don’t know how much of her opinion came from theoretical discussions versus personal interactions with at-risk teens and women. 

I do know, however, that much of my experience, through ministry, foster parenting, and when I myself was a promiscuous teen, contradicted her assessment. I knew plenty about where babies came from along with numerous ways one could prevent pregnancy. The issue was that I didn’t care—about myself. I didn’t feel I was worth protecting, and so, I didn’t. I didn’t think past my next sad and angry moment.

Actually, I spent most of my time trying not to think at all. 

I’ve seen this same self-destructing tendency in others, as well. Some time ago, my husband and I opened our home to a teenage foster child who’d been abandoned by her meth-addicted mother and raised, if you could call it that, by her alcoholic father. She pretty much did whatever boys asked of her, not because she didn’t understand the risks but because, like me at her age, she didn’t care—about herself. She had long decided she wasn’t worth protecting. I’ve witnessed this same tendency while serving adult women with traumatic backgrounds. In each instance, the behavior came not from ignorance but hopelessness. 

But there’s a lesson in this for me and you as well. A deeper and more sacrificial call to action than signing a petition or checking a box on a voter’s ballet. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying our voices lack impact, but I am suggesting votes alone are incomplete. Will we fight for the hurting and hopeless woman with the same passion with which we raise a picket sign? 

And if not, how deep do our convictions lie? 

Some time ago, our family began investing in yet another troubled teenager; a young lady who experienced three pregnancy scares during this time. With poor coping skills, and not having faith as her compass, she planned to get an abortion if any of these scares became a reality. Praise God, her pregnancy tests returned negative. But here’s what frustrated me: this was a difficult situation, one that routinely required killing our pride and extending ourselves, at times, beyond our strength. And while Christ met us in that hard and painful place, His body did not. When we felt at the end of ourselves and at a loss as to how to proceed, we reached out to our brothers and sisters, asking for help. In return, we received an “I’ll pray for you.”

Don’t misunderstand; we value and rely on prayer, but in that season we needed more. 

I know not everyone is called to the same ministry or to invest in the same person. But I also know Americans tend to practice a comfortable faith of convenience. Myself included.

Here's what I’ve found, in my own stumbling, and at times half-hearted attempts to live for Jesus: it’s much easier to write a post, hold a sign, call a politician, or attach my signature to a pro-life petition than it is to actually invest in another life. Sadly, I can find a thousand ways to justify a faith that often places convenience above sacrifice and rules above people. The Pharisees were great at this as well. They prayed, rallied, preached, and they tithed, right down to the herbs they grew in their gardens. They were great at doing that which made them look good and made them feel even better. 

Engaging in the temple while blaming, disengaging, and distancing themselves from the wounded, helpless, and hopeless people they encountered on the streets. They expected Christ to praise and celebrate them; instead, He responded with grief. 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:23). 

“Do the former,” He said. “Give to missions and soup pantries, build hospitals and clinics, and then do more when it’s easy and hard, confusing, humbling, and clear. Peel back your self-deceiving pride and dethrone the idols of comfort, complacency, and success. 

Jesus didn’t say, “Change public policy and engage in passionate debate,” although He may indeed lead some to do this. Ultimately, He told us to pick up our cross, to yield our entire lives, Netflix, Facebook, and all, to Him, that He might live and love through us.

According to a survey conducted in 2020, nearly 65% of adults in our country self-identify as Christians. Granted, some people’s commitment probably only runs name deep. But even so, that’s a sizeable group able, when surrendered, to bring about radical, long-lasting change. Can you imagine what our world might look like were we all to yield more consistently to Christ, not just on Sunday morning during worship service, but Monday at the office water cooler and Tuesday evening at the soccer fields as well? 

Photo Credit: ©Bofu Shaw/Unsplash

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.