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Some churches debate if they should hold baby showers for an "unwed mother" who might be a member of their church.

"Would this appear as though we were condoning fornication?" they wonder.

Using this logic, then they would also never be able to bring the child cupcakes in Sunday School on his birthday because he was and (apparently always will be) a bastard child. He is forever marked as a "mistake", and under this shadow of condemnation his mother will live for the rest of her life.

I would instead liken the baby shower to the feast thrown by the loving father in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son:

Luke 15:20-24

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."

Those who reject lavishing love upon a repentant woman remind me of the "other brother":

Luke 15:28-32

"But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.

"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured wealth and prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.'

"And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'"

Pharisees hate when others receive God's grace. It feels unjust to them because they keep a talley of all the "good things" they do. Jesus called them white washed tombs, clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones on the inside.

In the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18, Jesus says that the tax collector, who beat his chest and bemoaned his sin, went home justified.

When we wrap our arms around a young girl who has chosen to keep her baby, as sinful as the circumstances around the conception might be, we are loving her like Jesus loved the woman at the well, the tax collector, and the disciple who denied him three times.

If she is a believer, I can assure you the guilt and humilation she feels are enough to push her into the arms of her loving Lord. If she is not a believer, but is crushed by the weight of her sin, this might be the very event that turns her to the cross for redemption.

If you shun her, she will grow bitter.

Her circumstances cannot be undone--unless she chooses to murder her baby to save face.

8 comments:

We had a situation akin to this a few years back. An unwed mother wanting to baptize her baby. She and the father were living together and planned to get married, or so we were told. She is a "member" of our church. I used quotes because she became a member at confirmation but hasn't darkened the door since.
My husband, the pastor, said, "Yes we'll baptize your son but you need to come back to the church. Baptism isn't a magical Christian rite which will save your son." She agreed but never complied. So time passed and she asked again. Husband gave the same stipulations (which aren't his but the sessions). Now she, her mother, her grandmother have snubbed the church and spread ugly rumors about us because "we are the mean people who won't baptize her baby."
I do continue to pray for her when I see her that her heart would be softened to his grace and mercy.
I wonder if our church took the right stance. But by her attitude and actions I can see she thought baptism was a right and would save her son.
Did we miss an opportunity for showing mercy by doing what she requested? I don't think so. Sometimes the church is taken for a fast-food restaurant - give me what I want but no commitment required. Yes our doors are always open for the prodigals return but we can't control how people receive our extension of mercy.
Sorry this is a bit long but you've given me an opportunity to get something off my chest.ianis

October 13, 2007 at 7:57 AM  

Amen! Please tell her I am very proud of her for keeping her baby, and pray that God will bless her as she begins her new life as a mother. Single motherhood is hard. Abortion is easy. She is brave to face this on her own. Hopefully she will receive kindness and mercy from her Christian brothers and sisters, who are here on earth to worship God and love one another.

October 13, 2007 at 10:10 AM  

AMEN!!!!!

October 14, 2007 at 3:55 AM  

IWJT: I think there is a difference between a woman who is repentant and a member of your church, and someone who is just wanting to partake of what the church has to offer but has no real love for Christ or commitment to the body. Now, that is NOT to say we don't love and accept her, but when Jesus was talking to the woman at the well with all her husbands, he showed compassion, but he also called sin sin, as in "go and sin no more." There is a sense in which you should have one without the other. As for your church's stance, I can completely see why he wouldn't baptize her baby because that's a sign of the covenant for your people, a sign that he will be raised in a Christian home, not as the catholics view it, where it erases original sin. Am I correct??

By the way, those of you who actually know me know that I have been that unwed mother, but God has used my humiliation to bring me to Him in a real way. It was what it took to get my attention that I'm not as "good" as I thought I was and that I needed Christ desperately. So it's a passionate subject for me!

October 14, 2007 at 7:35 AM  

you can't edit comments if you find a type-oh---

I meant to say, "You should NOT have one without the other." meaning, truth and grace.
sorry.

October 14, 2007 at 7:40 AM  

I couldn't agree with you more! We have a couple of these situations, and the hurt in their hearts is already more than they feel like they could bear without the church heaping more onto them. In fact, one young woman is growing and making good choices mostly because we have wrapped her up and loved her and her little girl. So many other voices in her life are screaming judgement and she has the harsh realities of life as a single mom to deal with as it is. If she's made the right choice in keeping and caring for her baby, the least we can do is support her in that!

Our church also doesn't baptize children whose parents aren't participating members. This little girl has been dedicated with just her Mom because that's what she has and the Mom is choosing to follow Christ with her life (there is fruit evidencing this in her life). We have had another couple (married) who were coming to our church sparadically and wanted to have their son baptized - my husband didn't do it because they weren't members and had no intention of becoming members (membership at our church requires participation...). Same idea - covenant relationships, responsibility of the church to administer the sacraments appropriately, etc. They also weren't very happy and said some not so nice things, but we knew where we stood and we couldn't compromise that.

October 23, 2007 at 10:01 AM  

Ah..... I see. Your husband didn't not baptize this child because the parents didn't give you MONEY on a regular basis. It will never cease to amaze me on how some people think that they have a right to denie a child to God. A innocent child at that. Did God himself appear to these people and say " I forbid you to baptize this child" Jesus himself was denied. How dare you ACT like christians. I am also sure that this family has not spread RUMOURS but have infact spread the truth!!! AMEN

June 16, 2009 at 11:27 AM  

Big Surprise if the Blog Owner doesn't approve. Maybe I will have to start my own

June 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

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