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Today I ran across Justin Taylor’s blog (Between Two Worlds) and noticed towards the bottom a piece entitled “This is Abortion” accompanied by a video. There was no doubt what it was about when the initial image was a partially dissected fetus laying next to a quarter roughly its same size. Gulp! This wasn’t your basic You Tube fodder. As a matter of fact, I didn’t think it was something I wanted to view at all. But I did.

It was ruinous…for many reasons.

The legacy that abortion (specifically Roe v. Wade) in America has left us with today was graphically and explicitly hammered into my consciousness with image after image, movie after movie of torn and tattered unborn babies. Statistics have been shown that in all of America’s major and minor wars since 1775, the total dead is 1,329,991 – an amount equal to just one year of Roe’s infernal tally (see Taylor’s blog on Nikolas Nikas‘ article). That’s a lot of dead children. It is staggering to think about; the video only heightened my uneasy and sickened feelings. Just eight months ago my youngest kid Beckett was in the womb of his mother…just like these kids on videotape minus the broken and rent body unnaturally exposed from a life-giving womb that my son enjoyed. Needless to say, the video weighed heavily on my heart.

I came home a mixture of anger and sadness. My wife, God bless her, let me emotionally vomit all over her. I was ruined for the day. I still am. Detached appendages, limp bodies, and the closing scene of a lifeless (and seemingly fully grown) infant being wrapped in what amounted to butcher-paper by someone with latex gloves to be disposed of in some hazardous waste bin still haunts me. It didn’t help that when I opened the door to my study after arriving home I saw Beckett’s sonogram pictures lovingly hung on the inside of a closet door. It only added more pounds to my already leaded heart.

And yet I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything right now. I’ve observed that in the regular pace and pattern of my life that I’m probably far too detached from the evil in this world. Like a superhighway suspended over a decrepit and decaying downtown, my existence can be relatively convenient emotionally due to the fact that I don’t have to make too many stops in unseemly and unbecoming places – areas that show me the ugly, sinister, lethal, broken side of life. I wake up, hit the office, get home, play with the kids, hang with the wife, jump in bed.

No genocide (see Darfur). No abortion clinics around the corner (see downtown Houston). No homelessness in my city streets (also see downtown Houston). No car bombs killing innocent people indiscriminately (see Baghdad, Iraq). No pandemic case of AIDS chewing up moms, dads and all their kids with them (see Africa). No young children working in sweatshops under horrendous conditions and tiresome hours for wages we wouldn’t even tip our waitress at Chili’s with (see Asia).

While I’m the first to think that our culture’s addiction to over-consumption (see prior blog) is just as ugly and ruinous as the next great evil on the list, I still stand back and see the gap between me and the evil that many struggle with daily. I mean, the biggest arguments in my neck of the woods centers around who is the best on American Idol? Was the last episode of LOST worth Tivo-ing? How do you feel about the price of gas? Should the Texans keep David Carr?

But the video I saw today reminded me of a very sobering truth(s): Evil is real. It is with us. It is everywhere. And until Christ returns, it is here to stay. And if I’m to be engaged in the battle it may do my soul and my ministry better to take a few darker exits in life – detours and roads that lead me closer to that darkness which, like some murderous, cowardly, defeated enemy who has a few rounds left in his weapon and sees his victors approaching, seeks to carry people away from the Kingdom of God into the hellish abyss with it.

Proverbs 24:11 (ESV), “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.”

So I don’t really know what this means for me. All I have is feeling at the present. I would hope that those feelings are only square one of a greater awareness for helping others (both born and unborn, here in my community, in my country and in my world) and seeking from God the steps that a Follower of Jesus should take in accomplishing the mission he gave us of loving him and loving man.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
-Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

2 thoughts on “Ruined”

  1. Sharon Clutter

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this heart-breaking subject!

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