With the vast majority of Americans, my conscience has been increasingly awakening over the last few weeks to the abhorrence that abortion is. Prior to the release of these videos I stood firmly on the side of pro-life. There was no wavering in my stance on the sanctity of human life. However, these videos have produced in my heart a holy passion against abortion that was not there before. And from what I can tell by looking at the blogosphere and social media, this same fire has been kindled in the hearts of thousands of others. Multitudes are being shaken awake to the heinousness of abortion and are stepping out from behind the curtains of their apathy and silence. They are doing whatever they can to join in the war to put this industry of death to death! Praise God for this!
But there’s another aspect of this whole thing that many of us may not be thinking about – I wasn’t until just about twenty minutes ago. After sharing a compelling quote that rightly but gruesomely described abortion, I became overwhelmed with both grief and sympathy. As I sat on my computer looking at the quote I shared – the quote I’m glad I shared, and I in no way regret sharing – I read it through the eyes of a woman who has had an abortion. Specifically, I read it through the eyes of a woman who has had an abortion and is terribly pained over her decision to do so.
Thousands of minds are being enlightened to truly see the horror of this thing, and I know there have to be women who’ve had abortions that are among that number. Every time they get on Facebook and see statuses like the one I shared this morning, their hearts are filled with excruciating shame. Every time they see a specialist on the news describing the gruesome and murderous abortive process that they themselves willingly underwent, debilitating guilt crushes theirs souls. And at the risk of sounding cruel (which I promise is not my intent), this is the right and natural response these women should be experiencing. Their abortion was a profound act of evil, and the right response to sin, of any type or degree, is guilt and shame.
To the woman I’ve described above and who may be reading this, I’m not going to pretend for a minute to know what it’s like to bear the emotional consequences of an abortion, but I do know what it’s like – as a person with a very sensitive conscience – to be paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of guilt because of my sin. So I just want to take this moment, right now, in this short little blog, to tell you that there is a way for you to escape this emotional prison you find yourself in. There is grace for you. Nothing can undo the death of your child, but another death has occurred that can relieve you of the guilt that is crushing you. Knowing before your birth every sin you would commit, including this sin of abortion, in immense love for you, the Son of God sacrificially offered himself up to bear your guilt and your shame and absorb every drop of wrath God had for your sin. And three days later he rose so that you could know your guilt has been fully and forever atoned for. You can’t undo what you’ve done, but you can be set free from the suffocating grip of your shame. Look to Jesus! Believe in Jesus! Follow Jesus! He loves you ferociously and wants you to walk in the freedom from guilt and shame that he enthusiastically – not begrudgingly – offers you.
Don’t believe for a second that you can pay for your sins or remove your guilt by beating yourself up day after day. This “penance” will not heal you. Only by and through Jesus’ redeeming work can your heart begin to heal. The very real, resurrected, and ruling Son of God has shed his blood to cover your shedding of blood. He alone has paved a way for your paralyzing guilt to forever exit your soul. Rest in his pardoning grace.
And on behalf of the Body of Christ, I would like to extend to you an invitation to come among us and feel like you can be honest with us about your past sins and current struggles. Embracing forgiveness and freedom from paralyzing guilt is often a process. You aren’t meant to walk through this process alone. Please don’t feel like we will judge you or view your sin superior to ours. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glory and are in equal need of his mercy and grace. God has so designed things that the good news of our forgiveness would get into and stay in our systems by our constant administering it to one another. We need each other. Please, come among us. Let’s follow him and enjoy the freedom from guilt and shame he’s purchased for us, together.