loving our enemies,
and Planned Parenthood
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5.43–48)
I’ll be honest. I’m having a hard time loving Planned Parenthood right now.
The Center for Medical Progress released a second video today showing more of the same sort of conversation and negotiation as last week’s video. I watched most of last week’s unedited video. I probably won’t be watching this week’s.
Last week, with the release of the first video, I went through a range of emotions that I think have been shared by a lot of people who have seen the videos.
Initially, I saw people’s reactions on social media. I remember thinking, “This can’t be as bad as they’re saying.” So I read a few articles and watched the edited video.
At that point, I felt outrage. I couldn't believe Planned Parenthood was engaged in such grotesque activities.
I don’t say that to diminish the tragedy of abortion. If Planned Parenthood was only doing abortions, and not harvesting these children’s organs, that would be inexcusable enough. When I saw the articles and videos, however, it was as if Planned Parenthood had become a caricature of itself, acting out the evil I already knew it was doing, but in a grossly exaggerated manner.
No good satire can ever be written about Planned Parenthood now because there is nothing left to magnify.
In my outrage, I looked for stories about Planned Parenthood in the media. Like many others, I found none, so I took it on myself to break the story.
On Twitter and Facebook, I re-tweeted and re-posted my fair share of articles written by similarly-outraged folks. Some of my re-tweets and re-posts got re-tweeted and re-posted. I felt satisfied.
At that point, I decided to watch the unedited video from last week. I fully expected it to stoke my outrage. In some ways it did, but it also left me with a radically different emotion — one that I wasn't looking for and honestly didn't want — one that has been loudly missing in my social media networks.
I felt pity.
As I watched the nearly three-hour video, I was struck by something at once obvious and hidden: Dr. Nucatola probably genuinely believed that she was helping women.
I don’t say this to try and get Planned Parenthood or Dr. Nucatola off the hook. Their actions are inexcusably evil. All I’m trying to do is to drive a wedge between the sin and the sinner, to encourage us to despise the one without cooling in our love for the other.
Yes. We need to love Dr. Nucatola. Especially now.
We do this not by treating her as if she is a demon, but by recognizing her, along with all of Planned Parenthood, for what she is: blind.
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1.21)
“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” (Ephesians 4.18)
“ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6.10, also take a look at Isaiah 42)
You don’t love blind people by shining the brightest light you can find in their eyes, then cursing them when they still can’t see.
In the last week, it has become painfully clear that Planned Parenthood does not see. Everything in their rhetoric, from the terms “tissue donation” to “product of conception,” reveal the darkness of their understanding.
So what’s the best way to love a blind man?
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4.17–21)
The best way to love a blind man is to lead him by the hand to our Savior. If he refuses to come, bring the Savior to him.
I’m not saying that it is wrong to feel outraged by all of this. That’s an appropriate reaction. But if our outrage and our anger is not tempered by love, it bears far too strong a resemblance to hatred. Remember that Dr. Nucatola, just as much as an unborn child, is made in the image of a good Father.
I’m not writing this from the top of my high-horse. I guarantee I need these reminders ten times more than anyone reading this.
Planned Parenthood, Dr. Nucatola, and all those involved are in desperate need of the righteousness and justice and mercy and love of our Lord. I don’t have any righteousness to wave at them; I don’t have any love to offer them. But I know the One who does.
After all, only one person ever healed a blind man by spitting in his eye. And it wasn't me.