“What would you do about a young woman in church who is pregnant out of wedlock?” I asked.
“As it is a pastoral matter, we will try to deal with it in private,” came the reply from the pastor. “If necessary, we may ask her to stay away from church for a while.”
I was quite disappointed. I continued, “What if she wants to attend church?”
“We will speak with her and take a pastoral approach. We may ask her to stay away from church for her well-being.”
“Is this for her well-being or yours?” I hope I had made sufficient effort to maintain as neutral a facial expression as I could.
Every abortion remains a sign that the needs of women and children are not met.
“For the good of the general congregation.”
I was shocked by the pastor’s views, but I kept my cool. I calmly proceeded to explain how the church ought to be a safe space for people just like the woman who has become pregnant out of wedlock, where the church as a whole should come alongside everyone who is broken and hurting, and to support them.
As for the woman, the church should be exhorted and encouraged to welcome, accept and walk through this journey with her as one Body.
I was talking about a hypothetical scenario with this pastor. However, as I walked away from the conversation, I began to feel very concerned. How many of us in our churches think the same way?
ABORTIONS IN SINGAPORE
On average over the past decade, 1 in 5 pregnancies in Singapore are aborted. More than 660,000 abortions have been recorded since 1970. And with every abortion, a precious life is lost. However, the survivors of abortion – mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, siblings – live on, often in guilt, shame and pain.
Although statistics on the reasons for abortions are difficult to come by, according to statistics released in 2014, the reasons for abortions were as follows:
While we may not, as Christians, accept many of such reasons as legitimate reasons to take the lives of unborn children, we cannot deny that women and families encounter real practical difficulties in such circumstances.
The Bible reminds us: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:16)
In that same way, it is one thing to tell people that abortion is wrong, but we should not neglect the physical, emotional, spiritual or other needs of those who may feel as if abortion is their only choice in their situation.
The truth is: Every abortion remains a sign that the needs of women and children are not met.
The Church, as the Body of Christ, should be the safest space for everyone to run to, and find healing, comfort and protection. It is a place where we help to carry one another’s burdens.
Ultimately, we must remember that the safety in the Body of Christ is the safety that is found in Christ, who with His life, demonstrated His love; and through His love, gave us His Life.
The LOVE · LIFE Conference will explore how Christians can help men and women at points of crisis, who have unsupported pregnancies, or have suffered the consequences of abortion in one way or other.