Thoughts about the Gosnell conviction

Perhaps this isn’t great devotional material, but I can’t help but write a few words about the tragic situation in Pennsylvania with Dr. Gosnell, the abortion doctor who was convicted this week of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies.

Perhaps God brought this grisly story to light so that he could change the way that abortion is talked about in our country. Maybe he intends to wake some of us up so that we can see that lives—not cells, not fetuses, not mere choices—are at stake in this conversation. I’ve already read stories of people who have changed their minds about abortion, so we can praise God for that.

Maybe God wanted us to remember again that we live in a broken world, on a cursed earth, amidst fallen people, so that he might stir up in us again a longing to be where he created us to be. Maybe some of us who live tidy lives in the suburbs need to see the face of evil and look wistfully toward a world without violence and death.

Maybe he wanted us to think about abortion in a way that we haven’t before, or at least in a way that many of us haven’t. Instead of just wringing our hands and preaching against it, maybe we should remember again that everyone needs Jesus. That includes abortionists, the people who work in their clinics, and, of course, the expectant mothers who—maybe because they’re confused or they made a mistake or they just don’t understand what they’re doing—choose to have an abortion. Maybe God wanted us to ask, “What are we doing to help confused and broken people? What are we doing to change the cultural climate to help the people around us see that all life is precious?”

I’ve got a lot of questions. I’d like to know how somebody could do what Dr. Gosnell and some of his assistants did. I’d like to know how a country in which the majority of people call themselves Christians could think it’s acceptable to abort hundreds of thousands of its babies every year.

I suppose we don’t have those answers, and maybe we never will, but whenever we see sin in some kind of graphic form like this, it ought to remind us that sin isn’t just the big, headline-making, jaw-dropping things. It’s pervasive, and it hurts us all. Those of us gawking at Dr. Gosnell from a distance also struggle with sin, though maybe it’s of a more private, not-as-serious (so we say) variety.

Here are a few relevant verses to meditate on and pray over today:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and . . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1,4).

6 thoughts on “Thoughts about the Gosnell conviction”

  1. I also struggle with this story. I hope more Christians will open their harts and homes to mothers who feel abortion is the only choice and become adoptive and foster parents even though it’s hard, thankless work.

  2. As hard as it is to say: “He also needs Jesus”. Will you tell him about the Gospel? If not, who will? steve

  3. I enjoyed these thoughts very much. I think you hit on the key to changing the cultural tide of abortion. It’s knowledge. I would like to think, like you do, that perhaps the curtain has been raised on this horrific practice to force people to deal with what actually happens in abortion clinics.

    There needs to be a knowledge of the depravity of the practice, including gruesome details. I think we fail when we shy away from getting into the details because we’re scared of offending decorum. I understand tact and wisdom in approaching the topic–but people need to see this evil for what it is. If more people knew what actually takes place, and how it takes place (i.e. the truth), there would be far more people who would stand up against it. Perhaps this goes for sin in general.

    There also needs to be a knowledge of the horrible logic behind abortion. I believe that many “pro-choice” advocates have only seen the bold, emotional pleas of the “pro-life” camp and don’t understand that we have GOOD reasons for believing what we do. Logic alone doesn’t always convince others, but I believe honest, reasonable people can be persuaded through thoughtful reasoning about abortion–something that perhaps many Christians in this debate fail to do.

    Ultimately, the answer is always going to be Christ, but communicating His truth through reason is one way to help people on that journey.

    Thanks again for this post!

  4. Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and *hands that shed innocent blood,* An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

    There is no doubt what punishment should be meted out for such a one. We read in
    Genesis 9:6–Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, *by man shall his blood be shed:* for in the image of God made he man.

  5. From my perspective there are a number of factors at work on this topic. #1 Love or a lack thereof. A spiritual teaching called A Course in Miracles teaches that all behavior is an expression of love, or a call for love. #2 Pride being the unwillingness to take responsibility for our actions. Many people today have the ‘victim’ mentality. #3 Money. The providers of abortion are making large sums of money. Those who are pregnant are told how much money will be saved by not having the child. These are the big 3 to me

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