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The House, United

By Jor-El Godsey, President

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

 
These are words spoken by Abraham Lincoln in 1858 about the demonic and divisive issue facing the United States—slavery. These words, of course, echo those of our Lord as He confronted the demonic and divisive issue facing Israel—Pharisaic legalism (Matthew 12:22ff).

As Lincoln’s historical heirs and as joint-heirs with Christ, we inherit this time-tested statement as we face the demonic and divisive issue of our time—abortion.

These same words should inspire those of us in the pregnancy help community to recognize how, together, we make up “a house”. Certainly, we are Christ-followers and part of His Kingdom, the House of God.

But in a parallel sense, we are part and parcel of each other, like the picture of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12, united by a uniquely common mission of compassion.

Our opponent, Satan, is as intent upon aborting our efforts as he was upon keeping an entire people group in the shackles of American slavery. This same zeal was present in the death of Christ, which Satan sought as his ultimate victory—which turned out to be his ultimate demise.

So, how do we stay united, and keep from becoming that divided house on the verge of collapse? Here are three profound things we can do, starting today:

First, stop comparing ourselves to each other.

We are much more than our “nickels and noses” (to borrow slang from church leaders/planters). Budgets, client numbers, and staff sizes are poor metrics for evaluating mission effectiveness. Subjective things like degree of professionalism, purity of mission focus, and client outcomes are also weak indicators for people setting out to participate in the Lord’s life-giving work.

Second, major in the majors.

We can all agree that Jesus inspires us to champion His Gift of Life and Him as the Giver of Life. With some 33,000 denominations (World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001), the reality of total doctrinal alignment is an illusion. But as Saint Augustine encourages, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

There are some essentials that divide us on Sunday in the pews—such as whether or not we refer to Saint Augustine or just Augustine—but these need not divide us while we seek to help those women and families who are making life and death decisions every day.

Third, saturate our care for one another.

Apply the same love and grace to fellow staff members, board members, and peers as we would for clients/patients. The misty-eyed woman who can’t say which of her partners might be the father of her child needs the love of God to flow through us to her. But so does that fellow minister on our team, or across town, or on the national stage.

Love should always be our language whether we are in the counseling room, the classroom, the conference room, or at the convention.

Unity amid diversity, and the certainty of victory

Our pregnancy help “house” is a diverse group spanning cultures, vocations, and denominations. Abraham Lincoln saw something similar in 1858 as he addressed the crowd in Springfield, Illinois. When we look back on our victory over slavery, the moral crisis of that day, we should realize its similarities with our day.

Listen one more time to Lincoln’s eloquent words, and see if, just maybe, they can apply to us.

Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy.

Did we brave all then to falter now? -- now when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.