My Trip Home

"These people are a heartbeat away from Hell ... These are the people Hell was made for."

"These people don't love their children. Instead, they will pay to have them killed."

Harsh words.
Angry words.
Hateful words.

Not even close.

Where did I hear these words?

Coming from a street corner, from a loudspeaker.
Being proclaimed by a man-
a man who claims to worship the same God I do.
Speaking them in the name of that same God.

"Warning: Graphic Abortion Images Ahead" read the very first sign, black with white letters. The sign wasn't placed early enough- a car full of small children wouldn't have had anywhere to turn off of the road before getting to the lines of protesters. A line of 6- or 7-foot tall signs that stretched for blocks and blocks on the busiest road in town.

It wasn't just today, either. A preschool teacher at the wedding I attended in town said she had to lie to her four-year-olds while they were playing outside. A plane flew overhead, dragging a banner and a graphic image. "What is it? What does it say?" they asked her. "It's too far away, we can't read it" the teachers answer. "We don't know."

The street preacher made me sad. Followers of Jesus are in the news saying things like he was saying, and all his followers are painted in the same way. Hateful. Unbending. Without compassion. This makes my heart hurt.

My guess is that Jesus would not have been standing out there with those protesters today, though, preaching Hell into the portable microphone, smiling, waving and giving thumbs-up to passing cars next to the huge signs of dead babies. It's not his style. He'd be a stone's throw away, alongside the girl graduating at Notre Dame today, who just found out she's pregnant and is unsure what she's going to do, with no job lined up and the area's economy the worst in the nation. He'd encourage Life with gentle words and a supportive touch. "Go and sin no more." "I will be with you always" "I have called you friends"

Jesus, Friend of Sinners.

This is the Jesus I follow.


Alisse Goldsmith said...

Great, important post. I always feel so sad, angry and disappointed when I see things like that. What kind of good news does that bring?

Beckie said...

This is a nice reminder of the gentle God I worship. Not the firey judgemental God of many peoples religions. I have felt that comfort myself. Abortion was never an option. But the worry over what I was going to do, how I was going to tell my family and the father, that was awful. If God hadn't been the comfort he was, things might not have worked out as they did.

Thank you for this thoughtful touching post.

Heather said...

I couldn't have put it better myself!

"The Queen of Free" said...

The last paragraph is beautifully written/gave me chills. Well said.

James Kubecki said...

Joanna, I would agree with you wholeheartedly that 3 of the 4 sentences you quote are very un-Christlike. Preaching hell with no offer of the Gospel is indeed hate. Conversely, of course, preaching God's love and the cross without hell and sin is just as hateful to both man and God.

I was very much reminded of this blog post listening to a short (couple of minutes) of John Piper recently. Give it a listen sometime.

The Farmer Files said...

I would agree with James. ;) But I do not agree with scaring people into the gospel, either.

Anonymous said...

I believe in a higher power that LOVES us! And forgives us. Who gave us FREE WILL!!!

David Swindle said...

Beautiful post, Joanna.


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