Marie (not her real name) was nervous. She suddenly stopped talking as she buried her face in her hands. The counselor allowed her to sit in her silence, understanding that silence is often a space where the Holy Spirit is working. Finally, she looked up and whispered, “I want to tell you something I’ve never told anyone ever, but I’m afraid.” She was assured she didn’t have to share but was welcome to do so. After a few more minutes of silence, it finally spilled out. “I had an abortion years ago. Do you think God can forgive me?” That scenario has been repeated many times through the years in our ministry. It’s not only women who’ve shared about abortion but men who were also responsible for the pregnancy.
In either case, they want to tell someone because they feel guilt, shame, depression and/or regret. Yet, it feels safer to keep it a secret. In the movie, “The Heart of the Sea,” Herman Melville says to a man who has kept a terrible secret for decades, “The devil loves unspoken secrets, especially those that fester in a man’s soul.” Abortion can be one of those unspoken secrets women and men keep pent up.
James 5:16 has been misunderstood by many, causing greater shame and doubt after it is misused. Yet, it’s definitely true in this case. Here’s what it says: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” There is a time to tell someone about the secret of abortion, especially when it’s festering in a woman or man’s soul. The confession needs to be selective with someone whom we can trust, who wants our healing and will pray for us.
That Scripture concludes by telling us that the prayers of righteous people can be answered in a powerful way. Our legalistic mindset can cause us to forget that everyone in Christ is righteous, not just those who live righteously. Everyone in Christ is 100% righteous and 100% forgiven because they are in Christ, regardless of what they’ve done. God hears the prayers of the righteous. When one confesses their involvement of abortion to God and to a trusted person, healing often begins because the secret is out.
Yet, it needs to go further. The person may need to name that child who was aborted. It can also help to tell the child you are sorry. It’s comforting to know you will see that smiling child in heaven one day. Forgiving yourself because Jesus has already forgiven you is essential. Then giving all of your pain to Jesus in prayer can complete the experience of the inner healing. Yet, sometimes the person needs the godly counsel of someone like our staff.
Have you had an abortion? Have you participated in an abortion? Here’s the great news. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. Your Heavenly Dad has removed your guilt, shame and regret in Christ. There is healing for you. Contact us if you need help.
Live Free in Christ,
President and Founder