The Good Shepard loves us unconditionally
I want to apologize to any woman who has had an abortion, and any man who has been part of a decision for abortion, who has been hurt by anti-abortion signs or flags or T-shirts or comments. I am sorry for anything done in a spirit of judgment instead of a spirit of love. I am sorry that out of anger at policymakers' and laws' injustices, zealousness for the truth of life, and fear for our country we have forgotten the truth that you are a person, too. I am sorry for throwing stones at you.
Once in high school I went with my youth group to pray outside an abortion clinic. When we got to the clinic, there were people standing outside the chain links that fenced in the parking lot. Some of them were praying, others were holding signs and yelling at the women going into the clinic. One woman going in gave a celebratory fist pump in the air and others walked in quickly, avoiding looking in our direction.
I felt so helpless. I wanted the people yelling to stop, to put down their signs and consider the fear, uncertainty and confusion these women were facing. To consider that they might have wanted to be brave but couldn't; that they might have thought they were choosing the right choice; that they didn't know what to do.
I wanted soft hearts for these people, hearts that considered the circumstances and the pain that led the women to the clinic that day. Hearts that saw the women as beautiful, unique daughters of the King with hopes and fears and dreams; daughters that God looked upon and only saw beauty and grace and delight -- not sinners worthy of condemnation. Daughters who wanted to love and be loved; daughters who already had God's love and couldn't do or choose anything that would cause them to lose it.
All I could do was stand there praying and crying for these women -- my sisters -- some of whom were only a few years older than me. It could have so easily been me.
In John 10:10 Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. He says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." (ESV)
Abortion angers me not only because it kills babies, but because it steals and kills and destroys parts of my lovely sisters. It hurts us and robs us of the life abundant that Jesus gave us when he died for us, the life abundant that God wills and yearns for us to live. It leaves us ridden in guilt and lies that tell us we're not worthy of reclaiming this gift of abundant life.
My sisters, it is all a lie of the thief. You are good and worthy and unconditionally loved no matter the choices you've made in the past. That is the truth of the Shepherd who takes on wolves to save you. If we are truly a people who want to transform our culture into one of abundant life, this has to be the message we bear.
Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.