Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amazing Grace

I saw the movie Amazing Grace last night. I thought about it all night. It fills my thoughts this morning. You must see it!

I ordered a new book on William Wilberforce called Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas today. I want to learn more about this man. I want to know of his struggles and triumphs.

I have been involved in the prolife movement since 1989. I have seen many people and tactics come and go. It can be exhausting to persevere in a battle for life and death. The movie showed the toll on Wilberforce both mentally and physically. I think one lesson is to pace yourself for perseverance. Most battles are not won in a flash.

Another thing that came up in the movie was the idea of revolution. An associate brought it up, but Wilberforce completely rejected the idea. I know the same thing happened in the prolife movement. The late 80’s and early 90’s were great years of activism. Soon the legislatures and courts came up with ways to attempt to crush the movement. The cost of activism grew enormously. Because of discouragement, sometimes bitterness, and fear of defeat there was a small group that accepted the idea that violence was justified. There were a few bombings of abortion clinics and several abortionists were killed. Instead of accomplishing anything good, the end result was more oppression and bad public relations. Even though it was a few who did these things, the whole movement was painted with the same brush.

The movie highlighted what was done to educate people about the horrible reality of slavery. Most slavery happened somewhere else. Most people didn’t see or experience it. The same need happens with abortion. People talk of choice but don’t think of what the end result is. It’s abstract to them. With ultrasound, medical developments and pictures of abortion, a change is happening especially with young people. Education has been critical in bringing about the change in hearts that will eventually result in a legislative change.

According to the movie, for years a bill for an outright ban on slavery was introduced in Parliament and defeated. After awhile, an idea was hatched and a bill passed that ended up severely crippling the slave trade and there was less money available to fight abolition. Finally the slave trade was completely outlawed. There are parallels to this in the abortion battle. Lines are drawn on what legislation is acceptable. Incremental steps are viewed as compromise. To be sure, some have been but others were not supported that should have been. Abortion slipped in slowly and will go in the same way.

Wilberforce had a good sense of humor with his opponents. We need the same in our battles today. For a Christian, hate and bitterness are not options. We need to love even the abortionist; a love that would rejoice in his conversion. We need to build coalitions where we can.

I was greatly encouraged by the story of William Wilberforce and I look forward to learning what I can from his life. I feel like there is new wind in my sails. I will continue to follow God and persevere in the various battles that are a part of my life.

May God be glorified through us!

Philip

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