I remember some 20 years ago when one of my best friends told my wife and me that she’d had an abortion earlier in her life. The depth of her feelings covered how she thought about it and knew she’d one day meet her child in heaven. Talking with her helped cement for me that every life has value.
The potential of the life snuffed out when an abortion takes place is huge. Yet I want women who choose abortion to know that Jesus doesn’t stop loving them; that mercy doesn’t stop reaching them; and that Jesus’ grace didn’t disappear because they made that decision. God loves and forgives and values them.
Valuing life points me back to my faith in Christ, which has always been part of me as a pastor’s son, through touring with “American Idol,” my years in the Navy and as a pastor myself. Faith leads me to the idea that an all-powerful God designs everything and every person for a purpose. God put life on this planet, but sometimes, we humans stand in the way of God’s purpose.
While in Hollywood with “American Idol,” I wrestled with this a lot. I met women who’d had abortions, and I was surrounded by influential people who were not pro-life. I didn’t talk about the issue much during those years, which included my time in country music. But then I realized I could offer a perspective on pro-life issues, and I now have a platform to share it.
People want to know where I have landed as a Christian on these issues. I am pro-life. I’ve never had anyone say that I have to stay out of the discussion. Instead they want to know why I believe as I do. Some share their abortion stories, and some contact me from a place of remorse. Others want to encourage me, to let me know that I’m doing nothing wrong by standing firm.
I think about the story in John 8:7 about the woman caught in adultery. Jesus stood with her in the middle of the crowd and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (niv). Soon He was standing alone with her, telling her He didn’t condemn her and to leave her life of sin. The Pharisees who condemned her had shut the door of God’s kingdom to those who needed it — and they shut themselves out as well.
We’ve all come to our ideologies because of our specific circumstances. Yet we have to work together and be compassionate toward one another. What’s required of me is grace.
About Phil Stacey
Phil Stacey works as the creative arts pastor of City Center Church in Lenexa, Kansas, and was a finalist on the sixth season of “American Idol,” which occurred while he also served in the United States Navy. He has performed on “The Tonight Show” and with Contemporary Christian music artists such as Michael W. Smith and Natalie Grant. His first album, Phil Stacey, debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums.