The gospel of condemnation
I was watching Prime Time last night and they did a segment on twins at war in the womb. They showed the story of a young woman and her husband who were expecting identical twins. Everything was going well until the mother sensed she was having problems. It turned out in the ultrasound that one of the fetuses was stealing blood from the other fetus. In order to correct the situation, the doctors performed a surgery, but to no avail. The couple was then faced with a heart-wrenching choice. Should they abort one baby and save the other or should they risk losing both children by doing nothing?
Understandably, both parents were in agony over the decision. How could they choose one child over the other? At the same time, how could they risk losing both lives when they could save one? The father, evidently God-conscious, prayed that God would make the decision for him. The next day, one of the babies died. He never had to make that decision. After the other baby was born, it died a few days later.
Not only did my heart go out to this couple, this indicident also gave me an opportunity for a little moral reflection. What could this couple have done? I imagine if they had chosen to abort one of the fetuses to save the other, some in the Christian right would have screamed bloody murder. But then, what about the other side? I imagine that some on the far left would have practically accused them of double homicide if they had made a conscious choice not to abort one baby to save the other. The far left would have accused them of sacrificing both of their babies at the altar of their moral convictions.
And then I imagine there are some Christians who would say that if the young couple would have had enough faith, then God would have healed both babies. They take the wonderful Scriptures that inspire faith for miracles and then turn them around to bash the heads of those who seem unable to put their faith muscles to work.
What is my point in all this? My point is that in our search for moral and spiritual absolutes, we can easily miss the heart of Jesus who came “not to condemn the world, but to save the world.” We also forget that, according to Jesus, mercy is one of the “weightier matters of the law.” As long as we are on this side of eternity, life will not only be filled with black and white decisions, but every shade of grey in between. Somehow, I think God understands this much better than we humans who are ever too eager to assert our moral superiority over others.
The gospel of salvation can easily become the gospel of condemnation on both sides of the current culture war. The good news is that Jesus died and rose again to give this couple the hope that they will one day see both their babies again. It’s about time we Christians drop our superiority complexes and start pointing people to the good news.