Challenge 69: Stop Abortions

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

I wanted to make this blog post solely about Harriet Tubman, the black “Moses,” the one who risked her life and freedom for the freedom of enslaved blacks. She led them through the Underground Railroad, a path of freedom with safe houses from the south to the north in the United States of America and Canada. Some folks on the Railroad were too afraid to be free, got tired of running and thought about going back to their slave masters, risking the freedom of others. When this happened, Tubman, who carried a gun, threatened to kill them. She was willing to get rid of that person who endangered all the lives around him. But the more I thought about what God was impressing on my heart to share today, I know that this is about Tubman, her willingness to kill whoever got in the way of others’ physical freedom.

Today I challenge believers in Jesus Christ to kill what is getting in their way of spiritual freedom, that thing that has caused you to abort people and relationships that God intends for you to have so that others might be free. Even if you think you are spiritually free and love everybody, I want you to read this. You may find areas where you need to grow and may find something to help you guide others along the way.

The rise in bed was like that of a Jack ‘n’ the Box, sudden and surprising. This happens to me frequently when God has something urgent He has to tell me. But this was a Sunday and I’ve found that, for whatever reason, I don’t usually get the Jack ‘n’ the Box arousals on Sunday. I popped up yesterday, a little discombobulated, eyes searching for something, some reason why I was up at 4:30 a.m. and hearing in my head “Spontaneous abortions are not the way to go.” Somehow I knew this phrase went beyond taking life in the womb so I kept listening: “We live in a world that advocates abortion, the dismissal of life on demand. We not only do that with babies in the womb but also with people. We throw away people in marriages, friendships, workplaces, churches, volunteer organizations and everyday conversation. We are not a people called to abort but to give birth, to give life to those we encounter. We have to work on being counter cultural in this area. We have to stop having intercourse with the illegal forces of darkness that require that we abort. We kill everything that we encounter because that soul tie with darkness ties us to dark ways. Like the Christian who fornicates with a prostitute, we become one with darkness. When we become one, we follow after darkness, pursue it with great passion, and beg for more interaction, more intimate interaction, and the cycle of human intercourse with supernatural spirits begins. We can break this cycle if we denounce our allegiance and announce our desire to walk in the light.

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?’” (2 Corinthians 6:15).

Belial is a name of Satan and it means wicked, worthless. Infidel means unbelieving, and particularly refers to those who refuse to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Belial is in this earth “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” but Jesus came that we might have “life…and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Belial opposes what Christ has done, seeks to do the opposite of what Christ has done and seeks to get us to do the same, to be like an infidel. This is why the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians asks the rhetorical questions “…what concord (agreement; harmony) hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” He is saying that there is no harmony between Christ and Belial and a believer has nothing in common in matters of faith with an unbeliever. When we become intimately involved with Belial—who is the prince of the power of the air and the god of this world, we produce his seeds: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” including destroying people and aborting relationships (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Galatians 5:19-21). Our intimacy and eventually our production of unrighteousness happen when we continually immerse ourselves in the ways of the world, particularly by going to worldly places and listening to and watching worldly music, TV shows, movies and concerts. Like children we can’t believe have gotten so big, who look so mature, even though we know we have fed them and taken the time to nurture them in other ways, we grow up in the ways of Belial before we know it. We begin to reason and otherwise act like characters on our favorite shows and begin to accept the worldly reasoning and behavior of others. We find it easy to perform the acts of the flesh listed above, even if only in our minds.

But God came so we would have life and not just life but abundant life. One way to live an abundant life is by shining forth God’s righteousness and having enough to give to others. But when we have intercourse with the world, we instead find it easy to stop interacting with people because they offend us. We resort to the ways of the world with our easy dismissals. They stabbed us in the back or maybe spoke badly about us on more than one occasion and we don’t want them around. I am not saying make yourself the object of someone’s sick hatred, but we must remember God’s command to forgive others 70 times seven and our jobs of being light (Matthew 18:22). And there is no reason to be light if there is no darkness around us. And we cannot be the light we were made to be if we are filling ourselves with darkness (Luke 11:34).

I have a friend who used to write people’s names and numbers in her phone book so when they offended her, she would simply erase their contact information. Her process of erasing people from her life, aborting them, is now easier with us having cell phones. With just a click of a button or two, we can delete people from our phones, symbolizing to us that we have aborted them from our lives. Consistently aborting people and relationships is not the way of Jesus. He constantly interacted with unbelievers and believers who forgot the power they had as believers so they acted like unbelievers (Think of Jesus’ 12 disciples). We, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can stop abortions. The spirit of abortion may be prevalent in our world, but “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Let’s stop being intimate with Belial and producing seeds of unrighteousness. We are children of the light and must walk in it.

Take a Risk Challenge: 1) Think about the places you go, your trusted counselors and the media you ingest (books, TV shows, music, movies, the Internet and reading materials) and determine if you are getting more from these than the people and things of God. 2) Examine how you have aborted people and relationships and earnestly seek the Lord to see if your actions were His will. 3) Feed your spirit so you won’t follow your flesh and abort those you normally would. These are radical acts of love.

Challenge 68: Walk in Your Strength

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

For the last few months, about four to be more exact, I have watched out my kitchen window this black plastic bag blow in the wind as it hangs from a bare tree branch high in the sky. This bag, the thin, flimsy one you get from the beauty supply store, has weathered wind, rain and snow storms and is still hanging high, is still on display for all to see. It has not been ripped from the bare branch, hanging on to seemingly nothing but withstanding nonetheless. I think this bag is there for me. As I wash dishes, fruits or vegetables, get a glass of water, prepare meals or some other necessary but mundane task, I have to look out the window to see my wonder. I wonder how it flew so high, how it got stuck and how it hasn’t yet been ripped away. My wonder is strong and resilient, no match for a storm, and hangs and blows to remind me I can go on.

I, made in the image of Christ and strengthened and directed by His Spirit, have everything I need to push past the mundanity, to stand square against adversity, pray through calamity, speak out against perversity, claim my sanity and know it is well in my soul. God, I believe, gave me this bag as a reminder of who I am and throughout the years has given me and all of us souls to remind us of who we are and what we can do. As we celebrate Black History Month, I reflect on the black souls who have fortified me when I think about their life contributions. One of my favorites is anti-lynching crusader, journalist, and suffragist Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931):

One had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.” – Ida B. Wells

This quote glibly expressed Wells’ drive to fight for what was right in spite of the odds against her. Watch the video here and be inspired to (continue to) make it your business to fight injustice wherever you believe God is calling you.

Take a Risk Challenge: This week, in addition to fighting injustice on your battlefield, remind someone of who they are and encourage them to use their strength to fight injustice. Walking in strength and fighting injustice truly are radical forms of love.

Challenge 67: Take Time to Teach Black History

Early in elementary school I didn’t like seeing newsreels of black folks, my folks, being hosed with water and hit with fists and hateful words. This time made me sad and mad that white folks could hate black folks because they weren’t white, that laws supported and encouraged more hate and my people had to fight for basic God-given rights that humans had the nerve to try to alter. I can now put my feelings into words, but when I was a child, I just knew how I felt. Though my well-meaning teachers, who taught us black history beyond Black History Month, would often seek to end the late 20th century Civil Rights Movement segment on a high note by having us sing “We Shall Overcome,” my angst would remain. I could not see any overcoming, only hating and fighting, and I was not moved. The only reason I didn’t harbor my angst because I lived in a home and attended schools that celebrated black history. As a result, I never questioned if black was beautiful. I simply knew that it was because my daddy said so.
My caramel-colored daddy with the eternal afro was a history professor and made sure my siblings and I knew the history he taught his students. And he applauded Mrs. Tinsley, my 4th grade teacher, who made sure we knew about African kings and queens and other great figures that supplemented his teachings on people like Renaissance man Paul Robeson, blues singer Bessie Smith, singer and actress Ethel Waters and surgeon Daniel Hale Williams. Learning about these black contributions to the world had me reading on my own to find out more. Though my mom would often say, “People are people are people,” her way of expressing that skin color shouldn’t color our love or create hate toward a certain group of people, my daddy held firm to his hatred for systemic racism, which he often targeted toward white people. I know my mom’s ability to see people and not just race helped to curb my black militant leaning, but I have never shirked my vocal or physical expression of being black and proud.

I have taken for granted my long-time knowledge and feelings and naturally have shared with my sons, but last week, when reading a news article my 11-year-old said he didn’t know who the Tuskegee Airmen were, I felt I had failed in my teaching. I know that at 11 my oldest son may not know everything that I know about black history, but I have to be more intentional about imparting this knowledge to him. I have tried to walk the fine line of truth with hate and pride on either side. I have wanted him and his brothers to know the history, its glory and goriness, without causing them to fall into deep pride or hate. Not always knowing how to do that has caused me to not teach as aggressively as I believe I should. I have not tapped into the greatest power in the universe—God in me—for direction on this. After seeing I needed help, I have asked the Holy Spirit to help me teach my sons what they need to learn, how they need to learn it and when they need to learn it. I will use to anchor my black history lessons my perpetual teaching that from the blood of one man came all nations of men so they know greatness resides in us all and, because of the fall of man, sin resides in us all (Acts 17:24-26; Genesis 3). I know to love them is to teach them and that includes black history, not just in February, Black History Month in the United States, but always.

As my daddy would say to his all white classes where students would lament about having to learn about blacks and Native Americans, “When are we going to get to American history?”: “Black history is American history” and we know that it is also world history. History is the stories of all peoples. Therefore, we all need to know black history for our better individual and collective selves. There is no truth and love in erasure for comfort’s sake, only deception, oppression and delusion. No one can fully live without trying to fully love, and teaching—then living—the truth helps us to do that.

Take a Risk Challenge: Go beyond your comfort zone and teach black history to someone else. If you need to begin with you, teach yourself so you can teach another. Teaching history of a consistently marginalized people is a radical act of love.