Here is the question I posed at the end of the last article:
“So what if instead I turned this evaluation over to a jury of young women facing unexpected pregnancies and let them decide whether I’m focused more on truth, justice, law, and order, when it comes to the issue of abortion, or more focused on love revealed in my demonstrated efforts to empower them.
“What would their verdict be about me, about you, about all of us?
“And what criteria would these young women use in their process of evaluating us?”
I invite you to engage in this thought experiment to come to your own determination about your actions, but speaking just for myself, I believe the jury of young women would find me guilty of focusing too heavily on truth, justice, law, and order, when it comes to the issue of abortion.
They would say that my demonstrated efforts to empower them through love – love defined here as acts that demonstrate that I will the good of those women – have been sorely lacking.
What criteria could the young women use to come to such a judgment against me?
As I write about in my book, Your Pro-Life Bottom Line, I believe Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, created by American psychologist Abraham Maslow, is an excellent framework to evaluate how one is doing in terms of empowering other individuals through acts of authentic love.
Here is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in image form.
In the hierarchy, Maslow claimed that an individual must have her needs met first at the Physiological level before she could even be open to having her needs met at the next level, Safety and Security.
And the same applies as one proceeds up the hierarchy: Safety and Security before Love and Belonging; Love and Belonging before Self-esteem; Self-esteem before Self-actualization.
The framework is broadly applicable, but specific to frontline pro-life work, if I return to how the jury of young women would evaluate my demonstrations of authentic love for them, what would they find?
I think the evidence would be in my favor at helping the young women meet their Physiological needs.
But what I find troubling is that at each successive level going up the hierarchy, the young women would find fewer and fewer points of evidence in my favor.
The problem with that is while it’s likely true that the young women would be appreciative of my help at the physiological level, what they truly want in their hearts more than anything is no different than what all of us want: the top tier of self-actualization.
We might call successfully reaching self-actualization as discovering and living congruently with one’s true life purpose and mission.
And when I commit to acts that help a young woman achieve self-actualization, she will evaluate those acts as truly having given of myself to will her good, in other words, demonstrating authentic love.
I haven’t yet given of myself at that level because the effort to help someone climb up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs gets harder and harder as you progress up the hierarchy.
I guess you could say the climb gets steeper and requires greater self-sacrifice as you help someone successfully move up to each new level.
In other words, it gets harder and harder, and I haven’t yet made the choice to do the hard thing.
If we want more women facing unexpected pregnancies to choose life instead of abortion, many more of us, and I put myself at the front of that line, will have to do much more than the easy things.
We will have to do the hard thing: Love them as Jesus loves them. All the way to the top.
Please pray for me that I will grow in my willingness to do that, and I will pray the same for you.
This article was published in Heroic Media‘s weekly newsletter