Serving as a board member of Planned Parenthood in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the late 1970s, I was surrounded by caring, concerned people. We all really wanted to make a difference by helping those who were less fortunate.
My recollection is that none of us talked about abortion as if it were a good thing, but rather that it was a necessity in many circumstances. What we clearly saw was a need to solve the problem of unwanted pregnancy with a difficult but perfectly acceptable option. We believed that the pregnancy, not its termination, was the bad thing.
As an atheist who was born and raised Jewish, this practical application of abortion seemed logical and right to me.
"After all," I used to say, "Why would we want to force a woman who was raped to raise a child who was a constant reminder of the worst moments of her life? That would be cruel and unusual punishment. Or why would we want to burden society with unwanted children born to welfare mothers — children who would not only drain our tax dollars, but who would also likely have difficult lives?"
I WAS INNOCENTLY DUPED INTO BELIEVING I WAS RIGHT.
What I didn't understand was God's grace — His ability upon us to accomplish things we can't on our own. In fact, I had no idea what grace was; and neither did any of my fellow Planned Parenthood board members, which, incidentally, included at least one clergyman.
As an atheist, I tried to understand all concepts from a logical and rational position. I had no recognition of a Creator with a purpose — a Creator Who set in motion a universe (including humanity) that follows His guidelines. Therefore I believed everything could be understood with enough analysis.
I am quite sure most abortion-rights advocates approach the issue emotionally or intellectually, not spiritually. Even those in their number who say they believe in the existence of God simply aren't allowing for the spiritual truth of the fullness of God's grace.
God's grace defies man's analysis. That God would sacrifice His only begotten Son because He loved us so much seems like a contradiction to the logical mind. I remember thinking in my atheism, "If there is a God, why would He do that?" In reality, I thought any faith, especially that held by Christians, was really stupid.
Yet our inability to fully, intellectually comprehend grace, or any of God's attributes for that matter, is the very proof of it — that His truth supersedes ours so greatly that we can catch only parts of it.
It is that same grace which commands us to love our enemies. Romans 12:14 admonishes us to, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." We all know in our hearts that we can't do that on our own. It does indeed take the grace of God working in us to bless those who stand against what we know is righteous.
Those who persecute us (not really us, but what we believe about the sanctity of life), are not really the problem. The real enemy is carnal thought, secular humanism, the ways of the world, and all the powers of spiritual darkness.
As one who was a willing and enthusiastic partner in all of that, I can tell you I was innocently duped into believing I was right. In a way, I was brainwashed to be ignorant of the glory of God. My faith was in the ability of man to make right that which was wrong. The problem was, I didn't know God's right and God's wrong.
WHAT I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WAS GOD'S GRACE.
This is the battle: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of spiritual evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4).
When I served the world, I was serving the evil one and would have laughed in your face if you told me that. But thanks to the prayers of many and the grace of Almighty God, the day of revelation came when I realized the truth is Jesus, and Him crucified. I came "out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
So this is, I believe, the key to our battle. We should see the enemy for who he really is, the devil himself, the chief liar of the universe in whom there is no truth. And we should see his army of misguided humans as those who can be reached through faithful prayer, just as I was.
Quite frankly, we should have every one of those who oppose God's values of life — from local Planned Parenthood staffs and boards to activists to judges and elected officials — on our prayer list. We should be blessing them, not cursing them. We should believe for their salvation and understanding of God's ways.
Is there a better solution than seeing those who promulgate abortion to come to understand there is a God Who loves them, as well as those who have unwanted pregnancies, and that His grace is sufficient for all circumstances?
Jeffrey D. Miller has been traveling the country for the past 22 years as a full-time Messianic Jewish evangelist, preaching the Jewish truth about Jesus. For 24 years, he was a detractor from the Gospel and proponent of an anything-goes lifestyle, including being pro-abortion. He served a term on the board of Planned Parenthood in his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. But a dramatic encounter with the living God changed his life in 1983 and, just like the Jewish Apostle Paul, "He who once persecuted us now preaches the very faith he once tried to destroy."