Thrown away and left to die, that has been the tragic fate of so many precious children in human history. If you are pro-life you know how this plays out day after day in our country as babies are mercilessly killed at abortion centers across our nation. The practice was called, “exposure” and it was particularly rampant in the Roman Empire before, during, and even after the first century. Recently, an article caught my eye that focused on the history of Christianity, and how first century Christians were faced with an issue in their day much like one which we face with abortion.
In essence, under Roman law if a child was unwanted, either because of deformities, economic reasons, or simply because they were girls; the father had the right to take his, “unwanted” child into the wilderness and leave it to die by being exposed to the elements. This was not only an acceptable practice, but it was sometimes even seen as a weakness if a father wasn’t willing to do this for the betterment of his family and society as a whole. Look at this excerpt from a letter of a man in ancient Rome written to his wife “…if it may well happen, you give birth to a child, if it is a boy let it live; if it is a girl, expose it.” As the father of 5 beautiful daughters this seemingly casual attitude toward throwing away a child because “it is a girl” grieves my heart. To think that it was ever acceptable to throw away a child and leave it for dead for any reason is grievous, but to imagine that this would have been done just because the child is a girl makes it even more heart wrenching. However, this was an acceptable practice because Roman society had placed very little value on human life, especially the lives of their children.
So what changed this practice? In one word Christianity! The pagan saturated Roman Empire for the most part persecuted the early Church, but just as their Lord did, they endured the persecution and in the face of opposition loved their enemies and their neighbors as themselves. The love that the early Christians had wasn’t a passive just “go with the flow” kind of love, it was an actively charitable love that compelled them to intervene in any way they could, to first proclaim the kingdom and lordship of Jesus Christ, and secondly to minister help to those in need. One of the ways Christians were able to advance the kingdom of God, and ultimately win the Roman empire, is to go out into the cover of darkness to rescue these children who were left to die by exposure and bring them into their own families. Though Roman society viewed children as a burden the scriptures boldly proclaim that every person is made in God’s own image and is valued in His sight. Christians, those who believe God’s word is true no matter what society says, are willing to be counter-cultural and risk being viewed as fanatics in order to value the things that their Lord values.
This is has not changed. All across this nation and in our very city Christians are risking being viewed as “religious fanatics” and “anti-choice” for simply saying “every human life has value and every life deserves to be protected”. That’s what our Cities4Life volunteers do every day at the abortion clinics in our city where 25-30 babies are thrown away to die each day. They brave the rain, heat, cold, and the hatred of others to give these precious babies a voice. It’s not just about saving lives but also about advancing God’s kingdom. Each time we are able to have a conversation with a mom, dad, friend, family member, or even just a passerby we endeavor to lovingly and graciously proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we are part of a baby shower or other occasion to help meet the needs of a family, we seek to use that opportunity not to “cram our religion down their throats” but to plainly share the hope of the Gospel with those whom we encounter, praying that as these moms will in turn share this same hope with their children after them.
Maybe you can’t join us on the sidewalks at the local abortion centers to stand for LIFE but you can do something. Why not considering coming alongside our Cities4Life teams with financial support. We are not a huge organization with a lot of overhead as a matter of fact the support you give will go directly to proclaiming the Gospel and saving babies in our city. Would you consider a recurring gift of $25, $35, or even $50 a month? This would be a great blessing to us and to the moms and babies we reach on a daily basis.