What We Are For Is More Than What We Are Against

“You are anti-abortion and anti-gay,” she said. Five words to define me.

She knew me from brief classroom conversations and my writing, including my personal history as a reader. I wrote that history for her graduate class in literacy in 2006, before same sex marriage was a national argument. In it, I mentioned Bernard Nathanson’s book Aborting AmericaNathanson’s account of his journey from abortion doctor (his term) to pro-life advocate.

I included books I felt had shaped me. Nathanson’s had carved conviction for life into my heart.  But there was also William Barrett’s Lilies of the Field, the first book I remember reading because I wanted to, not because I had to. And Laurel Lee’s Walking through the Fire: A Hospital Journal, her story of single motherhood that I read before I embarked on a similar experience only without the threat of serious illness.

I had made no effort to hide my Christianity explaining the change it produced in my life had also changed my choice of reading materials. I hadn’t thought to include a couple books I had read on the Christian perspective about homosexuality. I had an opinion on the subject but not one that defined who I was. Nonetheless, my history as a reader was a woven trail that led to a complex me.

But she boiled me down to five words.

In that moment, I struggled to define myself. “I am more pro-life and pro-family,” I stammered.

With the clarity that comes all too often after an uncomfortable encounter, I can state that I am an advocate for human life in the womb and later (which is why ‘anti-abortion’ is an incomplete term to describe the pro-life perspective). And for me, speaking up on behalf of families has related more to the pain divorce causes than it has to the legality of same-sex relationships.

But with my awkward self-definition still hanging in the air and my clearer definition to be formulated later on as I drove home, we moved on to the purpose of our meeting, a discussion of my work throughout the course. Her opinion of my views did not negatively affect her evaluation of my work. I suffered no injustice because she and I disagreed. We have since had other meetings, always pleasant.

She may consider me somewhat of a friend. If she does, I am her anti-abortion, anti-gay friend.

It’s hard to convince others that we deserve a label that positively states a principle instead of one that negatively threatens to restrict freedom. Rather than simply wanting to end women’s freedom to choose abortion, we want women to be free of the nightmare memories of having killed their own children, free from the physical ramifications, such as infertility, that sometimes result from abortion. We really do care for mother, child, father, siblings, grandparents.

We want to be free from the sin of not speaking up on behalf of the innocent.

We also want to be free from the sin of not speaking up on behalf of the family. It is our duty to speak up in favor of children having two parents of opposite sexes. We want people’s relationships to be holy and healthy. Even if there are those who disagree with us. Even if we would rather not, Even if they call us hateful bigots.

It is our duty to speak up on behalf of holiness, yet always to do so in love.

We may not be able to change the opinions of those who disagree with us, of those who put wrong labels on us. But the burden is not on those who look at us through a skewed worldview lens.

It is on us to show love, speak love, live the love of Christ so that they see Him instead of us.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

30 Replies to “What We Are For Is More Than What We Are Against”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. However, I will also say that perhaps those of us in the pro-life/pro-family community have brought this “anti-” labeling on ourselves by our knee-jerk reactions to be against the decline we see in our culture. WE have labeled ourselves anti-whatever, rather than stating what we SUPPORT. Truth does cut both ways: there is the positive side of what we stand for, but there is also the negative side of what we stand against. It is the human tendency to gravitate to the negative rather than the positive. And in reducing that complexity, truth, to a negative, the positive side begins to look dark, rather than the light that it is.

  2. Labels are so tough! We are children of God, foremost. As you say, “It is on us to show love, speak love, live the love of Christ so that they see Him instead of us.” AMEN, Nancy!

  3. I love the way you ended this post, Nancy: “It is on us to show love, speak love, live the love of Christ so that they see Him instead of us.” That’s the bottom line, isn’t it. How we interact with people influences how they view Christ. How can others experience the love of Christ if we are not loving? And how can others understand His truth if we are not expressing the full truth that includes humility and love. Thank you, Nancy.

    1. So true, Stephanie. It’s so frustrating when that happens. And we must ask and trust God for the right words. Perhaps it was a situation that called for fewer rather than more words. Thanks and God bless!

  4. Love your wisdom and insight here, Nancy. And this, “It’s hard to convince others that we deserve a label that positively states a principle instead of one that negatively threatens to restrict freedom.” Exactly!

  5. I love this perspective of choosing labels that positively states a principle. And the reminder that the burden of labels and what people believe are not burdens we are meant to carry. We aren’t meant to change someone’s heart. We’re meant to speak truth and live truth, planting seeds the Holy Spirit can water.

  6. Thank you for pointing out that we are to love regardless of our views, beliefs and opinions. A mentor shared that we can agree to disagree and still walk away friends.

  7. These are difficult times to be understood by those who are not followers of Christ. May we continue to share our faith and live out His truth and grace with love and kindness. Love speaks volumes when words fall short.

  8. When I was an atheist seeker, my cousin bought me a Christian rock CD. One of the songs had a line, “Are they working harder at what we think is wrong than we are at what we know is right?” I have enjoyed your positive perspective, that you point to love first, and that you are not just “pro birth.”

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