I haven’t slept well the past few nights. Images of things that I saw while watching the documentary 3801 Lancaster have haunted me every time I close my eyes. I have felt nauseous, unsettled, shocked and somewhat helpless. Though I have known the brutality of abortion for years, this recent peek behind the curtain of a literal shop of horrors in West Philadelphia has shaken me afresh. I was aghast at what I saw and heard. How have we digressed so quickly in morality and conscience that in our culture, the post-birth slaughter of viable, beautiful boys and girls is not even news worthy?
As I sit in my kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning with the sounds of my six children playing (ok, they’re fighting now!) as the soundtrack for my writing, I must admit that many emotions are conjured up and the face of Kermit Gosnell that seems to be seared onto my mind’s eye right now does not evoke feelings of Christian love and compassion. I must confess that I am angry. I am appalled, and I have sinfully fantasized of the same barbaric violence that he has inflicted upon untold thousands of helpless babies being inflicted upon him. Though the Spirit has prodded me and pointed out my sin, there is a holy sense in which the Christian should be angry and should wish for God’s justice. God is just and loves justice, yet He is also merciful and delights in showcasing His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6) by justifying even the vilest of men.
As I type these words, the Holy Spirit has reminded me that Kermit Gosnell, the now infamous butcher of babies, is wonderfully and fearfully made in the image of God, just like those that he has killed (Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27). He has value. He is loved. He possesses a redeemable heart, soul, and mind if he will but repent and trust the saving Good News of Jesus. There is mercy and forgiveness for Kermit Gosnell. To be transparent, I don’t like that today, but it is true nonetheless.
It has been very easy for me, in my piety, to look at Mr. Gosnell and his atrocious actions and say to myself, “I could never…” or “I would never…” Yet I am reminded that no matter how highly I may choose to think of myself, those words simply are not true. As I’ve wrestled through the horrors of the case at hand, I have been reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthian Christians when he said, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) Few of us really understand or are willing to admit the depth of darkness and wickedness that each of us is capable of apart from God’s restraining grace.
It is estimated that Mr. Gosnell earned somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand dollars per day for his “services,” proving that “…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.” (1 Timothy 6:10) I would propose that Kermit Gosnell did not love beheading and dismembering babies. He loved money. The former was simply a means of attaining the latter.
Though we may be nauseated by Kermit Gosnell’s cold and violent deeds, may his sin stand as a stark reminder to every Christian that Jesus is to be our ultimate treasure, our “pearl of greatest price,” (Matthew 13:46) and that money, cars, homes and power, prestige and the applause of men are worthless gods that will lead us down roads of unfathomable sin to attain them. Join me in praying for these two things: First that God would grant us grace to cling to Christ as more desirable than anything that this world has to offer, and secondly, that Kermit Gosnell may come to see and love this Truth.