"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Trouble With Gosnell

"But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you..." - Matthew 5:44
No doubt at this point you have probably heard about the murder trial of professional abortionist Kermit Gosnell. (I won't even consider calling this man a doctor, and I hope you won't either, because true doctors actually value human life). If you think at all like I do, you will find the entire saga disturbing and frustrating to say the least, but not at all surprising.

Whether you are an "activist" in the pro-life movement, you consider yourself to be "pro-life" in the very loosest of terms, or if abortion simply is not one of your priority issues, this case should galvanize your beliefs and re-energize your activism. I've heard it said before, and it rings so perfectly clear especially in this instance: I can't know what I know about abortion and not do anything about it.

Let me be clear: The argument is over. Abortion is brutal, horrible murder - no two ways about it.

Because of this case, abortion should be a thing of the past. Abortion should be outlawed around the country and around the world. Abortion should be a word on par with "racist," "slavery," and "nazi."

A brilliant piece appeared in the National Catholic Register today by Chris Crawford, a junior at George Washington University:
Because decent people shudder at the notion of a baby’s neck being “snipped” on an operating table, they are forced to realize that the same disturbing procedure is legal when performed inside the womb. It is not the brutality with which Gosnell operated that made his actions illegal; it is merely the age of his victims.
Chris Crawford: Gosnell Trial, Long Ignored by the Media, a Potential Game Changer
No amount of justification can defend the killing of a child one minute, and not murdering it the next. No amount of legal juxtapositioning and politically-correct double-speak can rationally explain why a child in the womb can be legally and viciously murdered with merely its head inside the mother's womb, but is suddenly a human being worthy of life should its precious head see the light of day. If you're pro-life, you understand this already.

You see, when you draw an arbitrary line, then rationally speaking there is no line at all. Anyone who is honest with themselves, truly honest, will admit this.

And herein lies my struggle.

I feel bad for the sad excuse of a man that is Kermit Gosnell. I really do. My heart hurts thinking about how dark his heart must be to do what he did. Yet, somehow he really believes he was doing the right thing. I cannot fathom how he thought beheading one human being was a service to another.

My struggle is two-fold. First, how sad is our society that we can allow a Kermit Gosnell to exist? How far have we gone down the road of darkness when a man (a man who considers himself a doctor no less) has convinced himself that to murder children is to the benefit of others? I think we all know the answer: We live in a culture of death. In this sense, I can understand why Gosnell would act this way. Life is simply not valued as it should be, even with all its struggles, handicaps, and failures. For Gosnell, abortion, murder, and infanticide were nothing more than pejorative terms for medical procedures. We who are people of life see the brutality; I doubt Gosnell knew any better. I struggle to understand, but yet I understand.

As for the second part of my struggle, it relates to the verse above from the book of Matthew. Christ calls us to have mercy on everyone; not just when it's easy, and not just towards those people we like. I recently heard someone ask the following rhetorical question: imagine being the "defense attorney" at the Pearly Gates for the most horrible person you can imagine - someone like Kermit Gosnell. Imagine standing in front of God and asking Him to have mercy on someone like this man. Imagine what you would say. Imagine just how difficult it would be to say just one decent thing about this horrid human being. Why do this? Because Our Lord Jesus Christ did exactly this for all of us when He suffered and died on the cross.

He who committed no transgression suffered for nothing He did Himself. He went through the passion and death not just for you, me, and our lovable grandmother. He did so patiently, with ultimate charity even for the sins of Kermit Gosnell.

Therefore, we must pray. We must pray for the conversion of hearts all around the world. We must pray that our brethren find the truth. And we must pray for men like Kermit Gosnell. Pray that his heart, and others like him, will come to understand the value of life. Pray that these people will come to realize their sins, acknowledge them, and seek God's everlasting forgiveness.

As Christ goes on to say in Matthew "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." We may never be perfect, but praying for men like Kermit Gosnell may help us take an enormous step in that direction.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What Does It Mean to Stand In The Gap?

The Old Testament book of Ezekiel from which the name of this blog is derived, describes the crimes and abominations committed against God by the people of Israel. In Chapter 22, we read about the rampant and pervasive disregard for God's laws and commandments, which made the Israelites of the time "filthy," worldly, and unworthy to be called the chosen people.

At the end of the chapter, God tells Ezekiel:
"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land..." - Ezekiel 22:30
Scripture then goes on to say:
"...but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them, bringing down their ways upon their heads..." Ezekiel 22:30-31
In today's world, we may not face the wrath of God in the same fiery manner with which the people of the Old Testament did; yet I daresay we as a society are committing the same offenses outlined in Ezekiel. But for the saving grace of Christ's death on the cross, we would assuredly face the same furious punishments. Read it for yourself. History does repeat itself. Human nature doesn't change.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that our modern world is in this present state of moral decay. We have by-and-large abandoned Christ and his teachings. The natural order so brilliantly established by God during creation has been flipped upside down by years of so-called "revolutions" and "reformations." I could go on, but it does not take a genius to see the problems.

And so, in today's world, to stand in the gap is different than it was in the Old Testament when God sought for one to plead for the salvation of the land and the people. Christ took our place in the gap when he suffered and died on the Cross. Instead, what we must do now in our modern world is to stand in the gap between the world and God. We must plead on behalf of Christ out in the world, and in so doing, perhaps we can draw others closer to Him.

I for one will not take these constant assaults on my faith without raising my voice in its defense. Even though I may be a lone voice, crying out in the desert, I will cry out evermore. This blog will be a place where I can put my thoughts, feelings, and concerns to paper (or pixel in this case), and in so doing maybe I hope to inspire others who share my beliefs to stand ever more fervently in the gap, but always with patience and charity. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, "Veritas in Caritate."

Christ took our place on the cross; so we must take His place in the world. That's what it means to stand in the gap. I hope you'll join me.