Life Chain is a protest against abortion. On the first Sunday of October, participants stand on the sidewalk of a major street holding signs with messages against abortion but also for forgiveness. Participants are to be silent. It is to be a time of reflection and prayer. Life Chain began in 1987 and went national in 1991. I’ve participated many times through the years.
In our community, we have many people driving by honking their horns in support. This year we also had a few obscenities thrown our way, but the most intriguing negative response was this. Someone shouted at us, “You should have been aborted!”
It certainly felt like a curse – a situationally appropriate “pox on you.” It certainly didn’t sound like it came from this person’s happy place. But isn’t the remark a bit of a two-edged sword. If saying this to pro-life demonstrators is a kind of curse, isn’t performing or having an abortion an actual curse on the unborn?
Did this remark make me want to throw down my sign and run away? Absolutely not! I wasn’t standing there holding a sign because I thought everyone agreed with me. And in this there is a lesson for us about all of Christian faith. There will always be opposition. Paul wrote:
Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. (Philippians 1:27–30, NASB)
Paul is describing conduct that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. That conduct consists of (1) standing firm in one spirit, (2) striving together for the faith with one mind, and (3) not being alarmed by your opponents. Not being alarmed doesn’t mean that the opponents can’t hurt you. Paul is in prison when he writes this, and he even ponders whether he will die or not (see Philippians 1:19-26).
So what does it mean to not be alarmed or frightened? It may be helpful to define another word. To intimidate is to use fear to make someone do what you want them to do. The person who is not intimidated may feel the fear directed at them, but he or she will not change what is believed, what is said, or what is done. There will always be opposition to truth. The lesson we must all learn is to not be intimidated by the oppositions words or deeds.