When the faceless grim reaper in a hoodie character was revealed, it confused me. In quick succession, my real-time stream of consciousness flowed something like this, “That’s crazy. No way. This is shock horror. This would never happen. This is dumb. She would never do that.”
Then the scene changed. When I saw the older version of the mother with her mouth taped shut trying to warn the younger version herself not to get an abortion, I started crying uncontrollably in front of my computer…for 10 minutes. My co-workers began poking fun at me as I struggled through tears to regain my composure.
Last year, after my wife labored for 30 hours, my daughter took her first breath outside of the womb. I looked at my daughter. I looked at my wife. Tears cascaded down each of our cheeks. And something shifted.
Seven months after my daughter was born, our pastor Elliott Cherry taught a series on Exodus. He showed how Exodus is a book about God going on display to rescue Israel from slavery and bring the most powerful nation on earth to its knees. He talked about how the Egyptian guards were commanded to throw Israel’s male babies into the Nile River. (Exodus 1:15-22) When I heard Elliott explaining the brutality of the order, the pace of my heart quickened and emotion flooded through me. I tried to stop crying, but before I wiped my eyes, I looked at my wife, and she was crying too.
Afterward, JoAnna and I talked it through. “Those babies died by force. Now we’ve tricked women into volunteering for it,” my wife said. “How can we pretend we’re the most civilized country ever when we condone and encourage abortion?” I continued.
Wait. Stop. Rewind. Let’s make no mistake: it is wrong to stay silent and do nothing when I recognize evil, but Exodus doesn’t just point to the evil of throwing babies into the Nile. The book of Exodus points specifically to God’s deliverance. He delivers us from the evil around us, and more importantly, from the evil in us.God delivers us from the evil around us, and more importantly, from the evil in us. Click To Tweet
Maybe this article brings unbearable feelings and horrific regrets to the surface of your memory. Here’s the good news:
“Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed his from the penalty of our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24 NLT)
In other words, at some point in each of our lives, we’ve all been the dark character in the hoodie. We’ve all sabotaged, ruined, or literally ended someone’s life. But just like the story of Exodus, the story of each of our lives is not meant to point to how evil we are. Our lives are meant to point to Jesus Christ, and God’s deliverance from the evil in our lives.
Only after we’re able to see the depth of evil in us and around us, can we begin to see the stunning beauty of God’s deliverance from all oppression and evil.
When my daughter takes shaky steps across the living room floor, I’m reminded not only of her value as a human life, I’m reminded of her value as my daughter. I hope she never chooses to take the life of another human being, and I hope she always speaks up for the weak and the helpless. But someday she’s going to make her own choices, and if she ever comes home crying and admits, “Dad, I had an abortion. I regret it. I’m so sorry,” I might weep with her, but I would forgive her because Christ has forgiven me.
God has delivered me from myself in so many ways. I’ve been lustful, self-righteous, jealous, a gossip, desired evil for others, and willfully hurt people with my words and actions. Often, I find myself wanting to “switch scenes” to warn my younger self not to follow through with some evil decisions I’ve made. But then I remember, those moments of regret in my life help me see without Christ, I’m always the dark hooded character in my story. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see my sin. When I look at Christ in Scripture, I see my deliverance.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I see my sin.
When I look at Christ in Scripture, I see my deliverance.
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