The Wrath Of Humans

The wrath of God humans. I am more afraid of the wrath of humans than I am the wrath of God. How can this be? The disdain of humans to me is scarier than it ever could be with God. Yet people of God are supposed to be the safest, kindest warmest most loving people. Well, I've been scared to death of a lot of Christians for a long time.

This past Sunday we had a guest speaker at church. The pastor was sharing his story of his dad, who was also a pastor, transitioning into a woman. I don't want to spend much time writing about his story, but what hit me hard was the very end of his sermon. He said that when his dad came out as a she, she was fired as a pastor and lost a lot of friends. 
When my husband and I were walking home afterward, we both reflected on not only how incredibly sad that is, but what an abomination of the church and it's people it is. We shared how we felt like non-christian circles are often times more accepting than Christian circles. 
Jesus chose to leave earth with two main messages, John 14:27, "My peace I leave you, my peace I give you." And John 13:35 "They will know you by your love."  

Yet, it seems the church was more interested in their right religious belief than the person transitioning. Why is the focus on the thing that a person does, and not on the person?

Why do we think we can't disagree and have empathy, and love and have compassion? 
When our right belief becomes more important than humans, we have a problem. We have a big problem.

Jesus dealt with people that were focused on what was right and their religious beliefs. And it was those people that were more interested in their views than they were in walking and getting to know Jesus. They had very black and white thinking. Right is right and wrong is wrong. As they would put it, "Period!" 
And that may be so, there may be right and wrong, but our world is not as it should be. Our time would be better spent in that space of brokenness than it would a space that doesn't actually exist. Flawlessness, sinlessness, perfection....don't exist.
Jesus was hanging out in spaces that were realistic: adultery, prostitution, tax collectors, divorcees just to name a few. He walked in broken places because He saw people, not just the right belief. He was way more interested in the gray, rather than the black and white because He knew that was where you met the most vulnerable, humble, open people. He knew that that is where people were open to His love.

As Christians, we need to let love thrive, and that usually looks like allowing other people to thrive in their own time, and not throwing religious rhetoric in their faces. Understanding that not everyone thinks the way you do, or believes what you do. Every person has come to this very moment in their life from their own journeys. Everyone bears a story.

And I believe that is where He is today.

Here is what finally broke my 20-year silence, a facebook comment thread on the topic of abortion:

"In a perfect world, there would be no abortion "John Doe". It would seem ludacris to all of us women. Wouldn't even be a THOUGHT. But a woman has a right to take responsibility for getting pregnant, however, she wants to handle that, is on her. As you know we are not in a perfect world, or a world that is led by God's ideals, even if abortion is fully illegal, it is not a more godly country. It is also not the most productive policy in abortion "control". Maybe if more Christians were on the ground loving, supporting, relating, we'd have fewer abortions. Maybe it would have prevented mine." 

I wrote all of that facebook comment except the last bolded sentence. I was too afraid. I've been too afraid for the last 20 years.17 of those 20, I've been a Christian.
It was 1999, in May actually, 20 years ago. 20 years ago I was recovering from the only abortion I've ever had. I had a four-year-old daughter at the time, and my best friend Amy was by my side the whole time, while her husband watched my daughter in the other room. What love I have known.
20 years ago I was filled with so much shame I couldn't even see straight. I had already had one kid and was unmarried, and here I found myself again, pregnant. What kind of person am I that care so little about myself that I got pregnant again? What kind of loser, pathetic woman am I? 

I was riddled with fear of judgment. I had already endured so much judgment and shame the first time around, I did not want to face it again. I wasn't about to let that happen again. Shame and embarrassment infiltrated my whole body and I began to only see one option because of that. I was blinded by shame. Shame is like a sickness that makes your whole world dark. My state of mind was complete desperation to not be found out. Shame makes you hide anything at all costs, apparently. The cost for me was great, and to this day I regret my abortion. 
In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to have been in such a state to think abortion was my only option. In a perfect world, all circumstances leading up to pregnancy are bold and beautiful. And then a baby is born.

It's easy to say, "I am pro-choice, but I would never have an abortion" if you've never faced that decision.

It's easy to say, "It's pretty simple, abortion is murder, and you're killing a life" when you consider life starting at conception, but not everyone does.

It's easy to say, "Men keep your pants on, girls keep your legs closed" when you've never struggled with your sexuality aside from behind closed doors.

It's easy to say, "I've been trying to get pregnant with my husband and I can't. Yet all these crappy teen girls keep getting pregnant one after another only to have an abortions" when you don't see the heart of that hurting girl. And the hell she might be living.

It's easy to say, "You're an abortion lover and it's wrong period" when you can't seem to gain any empathy for others and don't take the time to start to understand.

It's easy to say, "Women shouldn't have abortions, because men have a choice in the matter too" when you've never dealt with a man raping you, or abandoning you when you get pregnant. And being told you're a piece of shit the whole entire time.

It's easy to say, "All life is sacred and abortion should be illegal" when you're ignoring all the other matters of pro-life that need attention: immigration, the death penalty, systemic racism.

It's easy to say, "Look at _________bible verse, God is for life!" when you seem to be missing where Jesus hung out and how compassionate He was. He WALKED WITH PEOPLE. Jesus didn't even judge when He walked the earth. The bible says so, John 3:17 "God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it!"

It's easy to say, "Abortion is wrong" but not get in the muck with women who are hurting and need love. It's easier for you to stay right where you're at in a comfortable position with nothing rattling you. Your right beliefs all tucked into a nice folder without getting ruffled. I guess feathers get ruffled, not something that would be in a folder. But now I'm feeling snickery, so I'll move on.

It's easy to say anything if it's not your experience.

I have had to find the goodness of beauty in the little things in life because I have dealt with the darkness of the ugly big things in life.

When I stepped out of the car that day to the abortion clinic, there were plenty of people waiting for me holding all the signs, but do you think one, just one walked over to me and had compassion on me? No. Why? It's easy to hide behind a sign but not get your hands dirty.

They could have taken my hand, and told me a thing or two about how God loves me and I would have listened! BTW, I didn't know Jesus at this time, so the pro-lifers missed their opportunity. I would have loved to have heard that God isn't condemning me, and there is no shame in this, and I can get through it regardless if it feels like I can't. I would have loved to have heard that people will judge me but that it will die down, and get better. 
I didn't get to experience a woman holding my hand and stroking my hair and telling me, "Everything is going to be ok. You don't have to go through with this. God loves you and you'll be able to have this baby! I will help support you, here is why I hope you can choose life!"
Do you think Jesus would have met me with a smile as I stepped out of my vehicle, or do you think He would have been hiding behind a sign yelling at me?

Where is your empathy Christians? Did you know you can still have empathy, compassion, and mercy in your disagreement? Why do you love your right belief more than a woman who would consider abortion? Do you understand that one can have empathy and value the life of the unborn at the same time?

One of the most loving experiences I have received from sharing my abortion story was when I told my Mother-In-Law. She was someone I was very afraid of telling. Not because she isn't loving, but because she comes from a conservative background. I didn't want her to be disappointed in me! 
She was helping me edit the first chapter in my book that is about my abortion, and I knew she'd find out someday when she read it, so I figured I wanted to tell her before the book came out. I was again, "afraid of the wrath of people", as I sat there in anticipation while she started to read the chapter. 

Next thing I know she's on her knees next to me in the chair I was sitting in and she said, "I'm so sorry for the way you suffered my dear." 
That was her first response! Not her right belief or how strongly she might have disagreed with it. Her focus was on me! ME! Extended mercy and compassion burn away the chaff of the harshness of religious belief and right belief. And it is profound.

Living in reality, whether you agree with it or not, is where I have found, is the best place to reside. The reality is is that there are millions of women that see nothing wrong with abortion. Thousands of wealthy businesswomen have abortions every day. Thousands of happily married women have abortions every day.
Thousands of teens who are terrified and full of shame have abortions every day. Thousands of rape and incest victims have abortions every day. 
The reality is we live in a less than, way less than ideal world. Look at Jesus' disciples! They actually walked physically with Jesus and still couldn't "get it right", they were even quite clueless a lot of the time. but Jesus kept walking with them. He stayed in the spaces of their depravity, confusion, and most of all, pain. 

This and my thoughts on free will is how I have come to the conclusion that a woman needs to be in charge of making the decision herself when it comes to abortion. If she is not in charge of this, it takes the free will out of life. We don't get to take free will out of living!
We decided long ago in the garden that WE GET TO CHOOSE. We didn't choose God however many years ago, under the apple tree, we chose to know better. We chose to be the hotheads. We chose to be know it alls. 
And God allowed that. God allowed for choice. He allowed it because He didn't want to control us like robots. Which is what the government thinks it can do by making abortion illegal. God isn't a controlling God, yet He is in control. Chew on that for a minute.

Because of us thinking we "knew better" now we have things like abortion looked at as a normal act. Now we have things like capitalism, suppression, oppression, systemic racism, greed, rape, irresponsible men, sexism, hate in every shape and form, and we don't even know our own sickness of mind and heart. Because, hey, we know better. We wanted to see what the apple tasted like. And though it was sour, it was oh so sweet. 

Some have argued, "But our bodies are a temple of God", and I would agree. But although our bodies are not our own, they are God's, a woman still has the right to make her own God-given choice based on where she's at in her life. It has to be her responsibility. She gets to decide what she does with her temple. And hopefully, in her own time, she will make choices that reflect that. We all need room to grow into something beautiful.

Living outside of the black and white spaces, and getting knee deep in the gray, is where I believe God is calling us. This doesn't mean we will agree with everything everyone does. And it also means we don't get to judge because even Jesus didn't judge. He was in the process with people. And we are called to that too. We are supposed to be making things less scary for each other, but instead, we make them scarier by our judgment and wrath. Again, "they will know you by your love." 

God's in all spaces. He's in the eaten apple spaces that are less than ideal, and He's there if we hadn't touched it in the first place. He's not going anywhere. 
If you are interested in more of my redemptive abortion story, you can watch a video by here
The first chapter of my book will also be my story of abortion. 

Thanks for listening.


Maxine Gonzalez said…
Oh dear one yes Christians are the worst for judgement. What we forget is that sin is sin and the foot of the Cross is level. Thanks for sharing here and I pray your book will reach those who need to hear. JESUS loved even those who murdered, there were adulterous women HE loved too.... isn't that the true message of CHRIST? And what about the Great Commission HE left us? I hope your book does well too.
Aimee W. said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said…
You are very brave to share this story! Thank you!

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