Just over eleven miles south of the Focus on the Family campus, in the middle of downtown Colorado Springs, sits a small park with a long and colorful history. On land donated in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer, the city’s founder, people of all types gather to relax, play – and protest.

It’s called Acacia Park. Well over a dozen people were standing on the park’s southeast corner last night, right across from the YMCA, the First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs and King Chef’s Diner. They were there to protest the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe.

The headlines have been full of similar demonstrations this past week. Perhaps you’ve seen one in your own city or hometown. But it wasn’t until last evening that I looked directly into protestors’ eyes.

What I saw saddened me.

Since our founding, pluralism has been native to America. Being a land of immigrants, we possess traditions and beliefs from all over. We don’t expect our neighbors to see the world exactly as we do. But the level of vitriol coming from radical abortion activists is off the charts.

Looking into the eyes of pro-abortion protestors in downtown Colorado Springs, I saw a hollowness and a deadness.

I saw anger and hopelessness. I saw spiritual emptiness. I saw people who have inevitably been hurt by someone or something.

I saw crassness and evilness. One young woman was holding a sign full of expletives. Once upon a time this woman was an innocent young girl in the arms of someone who loved her. They chose life for her; why is she now so determined to support the death of babies who were once as innocent as she was back then?

Many years ago, Ronald Reagan famously observed, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

Very true, Mr. President.

The deadness and hollowness in these protestors’ eyes contrasts with what I’ve seen in the eyes of mother’s committed to carrying their children to term.

I once stood in the hospital room of a young woman just minutes before she gave birth to our oldest son. Julianna’s eyes were sparkling and glittering, dancing like the sun off the water on a summer’s day. She had chosen to make an adoption plan, because she wanted to give her child what she was unable to provide – a home with a mother and a father.

Seven years later, we sat with another woman who had the same conviction. Tears were falling from her eyes, both out of joy and sadness. She was entrusting her son with us and was convinced it was the right decision for her and for him. You could tell she was using her eyes to look into the future and the life she hoped and prayed he might enjoy.

“The eye is the lamp of the body,” said Jesus. “If your eyes are healthy,  your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23).

With the fall of Roe, we step into a new season in the quest to protect all life under law. But the larger challenge remains the transformation of the hearts, minds and eyes of those blinded by the lies of the world.

As Christians, we must pray for those who protest, even those who spew their vile rhetoric.  We echo the words of Jesus, who, to get his attention, temporarily blinded the future apostle Paul in order for Paul to help others truly see “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:18).

Years later, Paul would write to the Ephesians, “Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance” (1:18).

May it be so in 2022.