Listen to Chip Ingram’s broadcast Responding in Grace on Divisive Issues.
Regardless of where you find yourself landing on the issue of abortion, it’s one of the most divisive issues in America today.
Abortion is not just a topic out there for casual discussion. There are always lives at stake. And it’s more than simply a theological issue, as abortions are a reality inside all kinds of churches. So what would you say to the person with an unplanned pregnancy who is considering an abortion? How do you treat someone who has had one? Not just what do you think, but what do you believe and why?
I can almost guarantee that in the next few years you will find yourself answering painful questions about abortion from someone you care about deeply. I also realize that some reading this may have already had an abortion, and now you are wondering, Where is God in all this?
This discussion isn’t just about statistics, numbers, theories or political views. This is about life. It can be really easy to answer hypothetically as you weigh the evidence and evaluate the issue of abortion. It becomes very different when it gets down to a real, face-to-face, life situation.
So, what do we do now?
“What if I’ve had an abortion?‚” Abortion is not the “unpardonable sin.‚” Scripture is full of accounts of those who committed grave sins, even murder, and were not only forgiven by God but greatly used by Him. The stories of David, Moses, the apostle Paul and others teach us that God can bring beauty and healing from the pain of wrong decisions. God’s Word promises that if we honestly confess our sin, He will forgive us, release us and walk with us through the process of healing. Without a doubt this is an extremely painful and emotionally charged issue, but there is hope for those who have been involved. If you or someone you love has had an abortion, or if you have encouraged or pressured someone you know to have one, please understand there is forgiveness and restoration available to you, from both God and from His church.
As I have counseled women who have had one or more abortions and several men who have pushed their wife, girlfriend or daughter to do the same, I am astounded at the depth of guilt, shame and remorse that remains even many years later. I want to remind you that help is available, and the first step is talking with someone you can trust. The condemnation and power of the past over your life is “the secret‚” and the shame it brings. Get it out in the open. God promises in James 5:16 that as we confess our sins to one another, we will experience healing.
“What can I do to help?‚” With knowledge comes accountability. There are a variety of ways to respond to God’s clear affirmation of the sanctity of human life. You may choose to volunteer at a pregnancy medical clinic, become a trained pregnancy counselor, or open your home to unwed mothers as they carry their babies to term. You might write persuasive, articulate letters to Congress, help fund pro-life centers, help distribute information, pray earnestly, promote adoption planning or remain informed. At the very least, we each should understand the key issues surrounding abortion and develop our own clear, factually based responses.
“How far should I go in the fight to protect human life?‚” As strongly as you and I may feel about our responsibility to protect the lives of the unborn, harming others or breaking the law are never righteous options. Our methods must match our message! The witness of every Christian suffers when someone claiming a biblical mandate takes another rude stab at justice.
God’s heart is generous toward humankind. He made us, He bought us with the life of Jesus Christ, and His desire is that each of us would know an authentic, dynamic relationship with Him. No matter where we stand on this issue, He loves us deeply, and He wants us to express the same unconditional love to each other. The unborn child, the teenage victim of date rape, the husband or boyfriend who encourages someone to abort her child, the doctor who holds the syringe or suction tube and the angry protester on the clinic steps – they are all the focus of His specific, abundant, life-changing love.
I urge you to prayerfully consider the part you need to take in preserving the sanctity of human life in your world. Is there a step He wants you to take, an attitude He wants you to change or a person He wants you to help? Please don’t wait. Do you know the facts well enough to present them to someone else in a confident, winsome way? Please commit them to heart and memory. Or consider sharing that information with someone who needs clear information and a word of encouragement to make a wise choice for their life and future.
Our world is in need of words and actions of love, grace, truth and forgiveness. When it comes to abortion, they are an essential part of growing your faith, and, for millions of unborn children, a matter of life and death.
In Culture Shock, bestselling author, pastor, and radio personality Chip Ingram shows readers how they can bring light rather than heat to the most controversial and divisive issues of our day.