Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (Ephesians 5:7-14)
It is not often that Christians flock to see an R-rated movie, so when that happens we should take notice. The movie Unplanned is a case in point. One might argue that the R rating was unfair and was intended to reduce its audience. However, undoubtedly the movie does have some disturbing images. Depicting the ultrasound image of a baby being ripped apart in the womb goes way beyond disturbing. It should be unthinkable!
So why does this movie force us to think about it? Because it happened! And it is happening! Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose life is depicted in the movie, witnessed that ultrasound. The movie recounts her experiences with the high-profile, high-volume abortion provider and her coming to grips with the grim reality that is abortion. Some call it propaganda. The movie Schindler’s List was another R-rated movie that was widely seen by Christian audiences. Was it a Jewish propaganda film? No! It too was based on historical events. Was it intended to produce public outrage and influence our thinking? Of course it was! It was a timeless warning – the unthinkable happens when we rob our fellow human beings of personhood.
There are a number of reasons why abortion promoters want us to not think about the child in the womb. They allow the term fetus, but prefer just calling it a pregnancy. When was the last time you heard a woman say, “I’m with fetus.” When couples post their ultrasound, it is usually tagged, “OUR BABY!!” not “our pregnancy.” The last thing that abortion proponents want is for people to see ultrasounds, hear fetal heartbeats, or talk about the child developing inside his or her mother’s womb. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” When you are complicit in the unthinkable, the truth is not your friend.
Overcoming the Overwhelming
However, the most compelling motivation for hiding the details of abortion might be the flood of guilt that threatens to engulf the pro-abortionist once those details are examined. Abby Johnson, like many men and women, has had to come to grips with the horrible reality of her own actions – actions that brought about the death of innocent human beings. How does one deal with that overwhelming guilt? I recall another R-rated movie that brought Christian viewers by the droves – The Passion of the Christ. It depicts the true story of how God, himself, provided redemption. On Good Friday, many Christians around the world will celebrate how God did the unthinkable – he sacrificed his own Son, Jesus Christ. He offered him as a substitutionary sacrifice, “the just for the unjust,”1 to pay the debt for sin that we could never pay so we could have forgiveness.
Good Friday is followed by Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Because of his resurrection, we can proclaim forgiveness, freedom, and new life for those in bondage to sin and guilt. That message is the greatest threat to the abortion industry because, when it is heard and believed, it arms the former captive with divine power to expose the unthinkable, speak out against the unspeakable, and overcome the overwhelming evil – and to do so with life-transforming grace.