They stood on one side of the street, we stood on the other. Hundreds of us. On the east side of that street were those who were pro-choice. And on the west side, were those who were pro-life.
We were divided by a street, but more fundamentally, divided by a belief.
They had their signs. We had ours. They had their slogans. So did we. And each time a woman was dropped off in front of the abortion clinic, both sides raised their voices. Some cheered. Some cried. Others shouted. Many prayed.
That was almost 30 years ago. In many ways, not much has changed. Certainly, there have been wins and losses for both sides. People are still gathering, albeit in different spaces now, but their voices are still being raised. Shouts are still heard. Prayers prayed. And we are still as divided.
But one response we cannot have is silence. This is especially true for parents – those who are called to be the first educators and the first spiritual leaders. It’s true many schools and churches have increasingly become silent on the abortion issue. And while this is disheartening on many levels, we have all the freedom in the world as parents, to speak, guide, and shape. An opportunity we shouldn’t take lightly, nor should we miss.
The goal of family discipleship is not just passing on information. It is for equipping and training, transforming for sure. But the ultimate goal is to, with God’s help, release our kids into the culture one day to be a light. And if we are not careful, we will release our kids one day to only be devoured by the culture, instead of change it.
This is why I think it’s so important for parents to begin teaching their kids about different cultural issues they will face one day. One way we can do this is by helping our kids, from a young age, understand the tragedy of abortion. Sometimes as a parent we might have the desire to shape our kids but feel ill-prepared on how to best go about it. So, I put together four simple truths we can begin with when teaching our kids about abortion. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is an important place to start.
- God loves life.
The best place to begin teaching our kids about abortion is by teaching them about God. We can help them understand that God is the Creator of life (Genesis 1-2). Any life we have is the life He has given us.
He also sustains all of life. He holds it together (Hebrews 1:3). And not only that, He is a defender of life. The Bible, over and over again, portrays God has the One who comes to the defense of all life – especially the weak, vulnerable, poor, marginalized, and oppressed. In this way, He is just – He promotes and protects people’s rights. One of our basic rights is the right to live.
- Every human being matters to God.
A second truth to help our kids understand the abortion issue is by looking at human beings. There is something unique about us. The Bible says human beings are made in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). We are made like God in order to live with God and for God.
It is this likeness that gives each human being, no matter who they are, value, worth, and dignity. Teaching our kids that every human being matters to God is about teaching respect, compassion, dignity, and justice. These truths only mean something if we are created by God.
Every human being, no matter how young or how old, has intrinsic value and worth. Therefore, they should be protected and provided for. Every life and every stage matters to God. This is why the shedding of innocent blood is strictly forbidden (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 23:7; Matthew 5:21) throughout the Bible.
- Life begins inside the womb, not outside.
This leads to a third truth. The unborn do not become human, they already are human. They might be less developed or not as mature, but that does not make them less human.
Here are some facts about an unborn child (all of which exists before the earliest abortions):
18 days – Heart and eyes are forming
21 days – Heart is beating and pumping blood
28 days – The unborn has budding arms and legs
By 30 days – The unborn has a brain and blood flow through the veins
By three weeks – The baby’s heartbeat can be detected by a stethoscope
By 42 days – The skeleton is formed and the brain is controlling muscles and organs
A child inside the womb is not of lesser value than one outside – just as a ten-year-old is not of lesser value than a 40-year-old.
The psalmist said it well when he wrote:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
- Nobody is beyond the love and forgiveness of Jesus.
A final truth, we cannot ignore, is that the gospel really is good news. No matter who we are and no matter what we’ve done, God offers us forgiveness in Jesus. Abortion is not just a bad choice. It is the taking of innocent life. It is an evil in God’s eyes.
But that’s not the end of our story with Jesus. When we come to Him in repentance and faith, He loves, forgives, and restores. Our silence does not spare people of their pain if they’ve had an abortion; our silence spares them the healing of their pain.
So let’s pass on faith to our kids. And let’s also help them apply faith to the cultural issues they’ll face one day when they leave our homes. Let’s keep praying for an end to abortion. Let’s be compassionate and generous to women in crisis situations. Let’s keep pointing people to Jesus, who forgives, heals, and restores.
But let’s not be silent – especially in our homes. It is, after all, the first place our kids’ hearts and minds will be shaped.