The “been there” principles I wrote about last week apply too as we seek to minister to women who have had an abortion. Do we communicate our pro-life position in a way that is so hatefully angry a post-abortive woman would never think of coming to us for help and restoration? Again, our common experience provides perspective.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21,22a)
Listen to the words of a dear friend, and member of our church, as you consider your ministry for life.
“In 1975, I had an abortion. I was a single young woman (NOT a Christian) who loved to party, I had a terrific job at Ford Motor Company, I lived alone in a nice apartment, I had a brand new car…….and I found myself pregnant. I was angry at myself for being so careless. Being the self-centered, fiercely independent person that I was, the first thing that came to my mind was, “I’ll get an abortion”. There was no thought put into this decision whatsoever. I didn’t even know what an abortion was, I just knew I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be. I knew it was legal, my boyfriend would pay for it, and then I could start fresh. So that’s what I did.
They told me at the clinic that I could resume all normal activities in 2 days and go on as if nothing happened. I believed them. They were so nice and comforting, why would they ever lie to me? But lie they did.
I cried all the way home. In fact, I could barely breathe. The pain of the procedure was beyond anything I had ever experienced. I was awake the entire time and thought my insides were being ripped out. I tried to get up but the nurse had such a tight grip on my arm that she scared me. The doctor never said a word – not one word, I never saw him. I was hyperventilating and they had to give me a drug to calm me down. They also told me that in order to leave, I had to be calm. (I later realized that I had to leave the clinic through the same waiting room that many women and young girls were waiting their turns. The staff did not want me in hysterics as I left. That would have been very bad for business, right?)
For weeks I would cry for no reason. Then, as if I turned off a light switch, I determined to never think about it again. And for 15 years, I gave it no thought whatsoever. I buried it deep. By the time I was 40, I had become a black-out alcoholic. I drank every day and took pills to sleep at night.
My neighbor, who was a Christian, came to my house one day in 1993. She shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me. I was so resistant – I locked myself in the bathroom. She was trying to tell me that God forgives all of our sins if we believe in Jesus, His Son. That was beyond my comprehension. I had never heard anything like that. I could not imagine God forgiving someone that had aborted her baby and was drunk all the time. BUT, my neighbor told me that she had had an abortion and had struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. (She didn’t know anything about me at that time, oh how God works!) She told me that when she and her husband invited Christ to be the Lord of their lives, everything changed. I saw it in her eyes, she was telling me the truth! (This was after I finally came out of the bathroom:))
She invited me to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and change me. That was 20 years ago. (And I have never had a drink since that day either – Praise the Lord!)
I knew I was forgiven of my sin of abortion because the Lord drew me so close and took me on a journey of reading His Word, studying it and learning how to pray. I John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. I took Him at His Word. I believed that I was forgiven. And I wanted other women to know that they could be forgiven too.”
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
Implore them. Beg them urgently. Because if I’m forgiven and you’re forgiven, they can be too.