What I Wish I’d Heard From the Church After Having an Abortion
By: Veronica Sexton
“How does it feel to be a murderer?”
My friend says this as she recounts a conversation she had with a woman who recently had an abortion.
“I’m not afraid to confront people about the error of their ways,” my friend adds.
My throat and chest tighten. Will this woman, who my friend cruelly condemned, ever come to know God’s amazing grace in her lifetime?
The extent of God’s mercy and love for me again comes into focus and I’m filled with gratitude.
Because I had an abortion, too.
An Abortion Is Never Plan A
Nearly 20 years ago, I was lost. So I acted lost. I had the abortion because I believed I had no other choice.
I grew up in a broken home, where I felt neglected. I sought affection from boys. Then I was date-raped at 15. I felt worthless, and I continued to seek validation from men as I grew older.
Because I already battled depression, my psychiatrist encouraged me to have an abortion when I became pregnant.
Immediately afterward, and for years, I carried the tremendous weight of this decision (and others) like a cloak of shame. Regardless of the circumstances which led to the abortion, I made that choice. How could I ever know forgiveness?
Forgiveness Is Possible
In my darkest hour, I begged God to save me, to forgive me. And, as cliché as it sounds, He reached into my dark, slimy pit to pull me into His light (Psalm 30:2-3, Psalm 118:5). Through God’s grace alone, I came to know total forgiveness. He set me free, from my cloak of shame, and from the victim mentality I’d lugged around my whole life.
If He can do that for me, then forgiveness, redemption, and healing are there for anyone, and for anything.
What Women Need
Now, in the comfort of God’s grace, this occurs to me: If an ambassador of Christ had “greeted” me 15 years ago the way my friend did, I would’ve run far away from the Church and the redeeming message of Jesus Christ.
How tragic, that a person might more easily find love and mercy from a world that doesn’t know God than from those who claim to know and love Him.
Romans 8:1 tells us “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” But, rather than operating as the hands and feet of Jesus by sitting with sinners and extending God’s grace, love, and compassion, we too often hear Christians yelling, “Murderer, murderer!”
Many Christians are screaming at the front door of abortion clinics, but where is our back door ministry, leading sinners to the grace, redemption, and healing of a loving Father?
So, is it any wonder that people hide their sin and shame, lurking in the shadows, rather than taking it to the church, which should be a house of hope and healing? (Colossians 1:13-14)
Extending God’s grace through love and mercy doesn’t mean we condone sin; it means we’re pointing others to the Savior we all desperately need.
Extending God’s grace through love and mercy doesn’t mean we condone sin; it means we’re pointing others to the Savior we all desperately need (Ephesians 4:32). It means we first show compassion toward individuals, as Jesus did. It means we don’t start the conversation by condemning women to hell. Jesus set the best example for how to do this, beginning conversations with an adulteress and a promiscuous pagan by giving them the mercy and respect others wouldn’t (John 4, John 8:1-30).
Likewise, we can’t share the Gospel with those who are running from us, with those who’ve already blocked us from their social media feeds.
Because truly, don’t we all feel the weight of the sins and secrets that we carry?
So instead of pointing a condemning finger, maybe we should point others toward the freedom of the cross.