Recovering from a Tragic Loss

  As regular listeners know, I sometimes have to take the role of cultural referee. In those cases I find it necessary to blow the whistle on films or TV programs that go too far or misrepresent moral or biblical principles. But today it’s a pleasure to drop the referee’s whistle and pick up the cheerleader’s megaphone, paying tribute to a broadcaster who used a Christian concept on a TV without distorting it. I’m talking about this past Sunday’s episode of Touched by an Angel on CBS. The plot featured a couple who had been married fifteen years, and who had been hosting an early-morning TV show all that time. But a media conglomerate bought the station and canceled their show without even giving them a chance to say good-bye to their regular viewers. Back at home, the couple’s bitterness and recrimination was interrupted one night by a knock at the door from a couple whose car had broken down. Before long, as they talked, the strangers uncovered issues that had been festering, tearing apart the TV couple’s marriage. At one point, while rummaging through her basement, the wife finds baby clothes that have never been worn. She had bought them shortly after their wedding, when she became pregnant. She told the visitors she had "lost the baby." But accusingly, her husband corrected her; like their TV show, he said, the baby had been "canceled." When the offer came fifteen years earlier for the big break they’d both craved, the baby had to go. It turns out that one evening while her husband was away, the young woman visited her local "women’s health service provider." Later, they never spoke about the incident. Well, in this sad story, Martha Williamson and writers for Touched by an Angel were able to make a profound statement. Despite all the talk of controlling her own body, this woman realized that when she walked out of that abortion provider’s office, she’d "left a part of her soul behind." She’d been struggling with post-abortion syndrome ever since. The best part of the program was its realistic portrayal of attitudes I’ve seen in so many principled pro-lifers. It didn’t do what the media usually does and portray the visitors as crazed gunmen, Bible-waving fanatics, or protestors. Instead, it showed their genuine compassion for a couple who lost a child. Yes, the couple had sinned, but these messengers from God were not there to rail against them or consign them to eternal punishment. For fifteen years, this ambitious couple had been choking on their sadness, suspicion, and guilt, pointing their fingers at each other and cradling the emptiness. But now that they were acknowledging their problems and facing the natural emotions, the angels helped them to discover that God was ready to forgive and restore them. From there it was a healing process -- right from the first moment they handed their heavy burden to God. So thanks again, Martha Williamson, for avoiding the stereotypes and helping viewers to see that abortion isn’t just a "private choice" but rather a life-and- death matter. And for showing that God’s love is big enough to cover even the most tragic loss. It’s a thrill to see biblical truth portrayed so fairly in primetime media. For further reference: "The Empty Chair." Touched by an Angel. Episode 707; 19 November 2000.


Chuck Colson


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