New year, time for firsts. New beginnings. In the Bible, the first book, Genesis, has very interesting firsts that give us insight into sidewalk work.
How Satan Tempts
First question in the Bible: Genesis 3:1
‘Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
Satan tempts humans to question God’s goodness. This is the same tactic used by the proabortion crowd. Did God REALLY say you should not have sex outside of marriage? Did God really say the unborn clump of cells is a baby? Does God really consider an abortion to be murder? Etc. Satan tempts by causing us to question TRUTH and call good evil and evil good.
The Call to Confession and Repentence
First question God asks humans: Genesis 3:9
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”’
God of course knew where they were. He was giving them a chance to come out of hiding and admit their sin. Of course first they had to recognize it, then admit, then turn from it. He gave them the chance but all they did was rationalize and blame others.
EXACTLY what we see on the sidewalk.
We are the ones making the call to repentence asking a similar question. Where are you? They are in an abortion center ready to kill their babies. Do many of them admit what they are doing is wrong? Or do they instead blame us for making them feel guilty and blame others and circumstances for why they must sin.
Our Responsibility to Care for Others
First question humans ask of God: Genesis 4:9
‘Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. ‘
Cain asks if he is responsible for his brother. God clearly answers yes, and the blood guilt of Cain is obvious to God and speaks of his abdicating that responsibility. Even worse, he perverts his responsibility towards Abel into evil towards his brother.
Again, this easily applies to our work. We are to care for our fellow humans. We are not to harm them. If we do harm in so brutal an act as murder, their blood cries out to God. He obviously sees and hears this terrible sin. Women rationalize their own needs as justification to kill another human being, perverting the maternal instinct into evil.
God’s Mercy Prevails
The first cry of a human for mercy: Genesis 4:13-15
And Cain said to the Lord , “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.’
Despite the seriousness of the crime, and the need for punishment, God responds to Cain’s anguish with mercy. Notice Cain recognizes he will be hidden from Gods face and sees he is utterly dependent on God for protection and saving. He cannot save Himself. This points to the helplessness of us all without God’s mercy and provision to save us from our sin and ultimately, the protection of the cross.
Those at the abortion center need to see their utter dependency on God and their complete helplessness without Him. He will respond mercifully, but not until they recognize they cannot save themselves.
I believe our role is to illuminate this process in a similar way as it unfolds in Genesis. Expose the temptation to question God, examine where they are and give the opportunity to confess and leave, convict them of the need to care for others and their responsibility to protect fellow humans, and, finally, to turn in helpless submission to the only answer to their depravity.