Pastor Scotty Vaughn describes himself as a husband, father, grandfather – and a man whom God had to "take to the mat" to get his attention.
When 19-year-old Scotty decided that he wasn't ready to be a father – and his family and friends told him that an unborn baby "is not life" – Scotty agreed.
"It's just what I'd always been told," he says. So he pressured his then-wife to have an abortion, even though she didn't want to.
Scotty says he didn't know that abortion would take him to a place of brokenness unlike anything he had ever experienced – and would prevent him from leading his wife and children the way God intended.
Abortion harms a man's ability to lead his family
When a man doesn't protect his preborn child, either by passively watching the woman in his life have an abortion or by pressuring her to, it can undermine his confidence in his manhood. Why? Because God created men to be protectors, just as women are nurturers.
To protect is a deep, God-given desire; when a man understands that he has violated God's principle of protection through abortion, it can erode his ability to lead, both morally and spiritually.
"I didn't feel that I could tell my children what to do because I hadn't protected my unborn child," Scotty says. "I'd failed morally [and as a protector], so what right did I have to parent them?"
Scotty says the most important battle is when a man fights spiritually for those he loves. Unfortunately, when a man violates God's law through abortion, his confidence is also impaired to engage in spiritual battle.
"And if a man doesn't get into the battle to fight for his family," he says, "the battle doesn't go away, but Satan just gets to do whatever he wants."
So, after permitting or even encouraging an abortion, how can a man take back the authority that God has given him to lead his family? Even though it can be a challenge, Scotty says a man needs to own his sin and receive God's forgiveness.
A man needs to take responsibility for his actions
For many men, admitting their wrongs is difficult. Fortunately, God doesn't desire to keep them trapped in a place of guilt. Rather, men need to own (or admit to) their sin when it comes to abortion because it's the only way to eventually move past the pain.
"Men have got to own that piece of their life that is hard," Scotty says. "You have to own your sin or your sin will own you. Your sin will own you by keeping you in denial or in fear."
For Scotty, part of living in fear meant not being vulnerable with his family or friends. He was certain that if he admitted to Christian men he knew and admired what he'd done, they would reject him. Yet when he finally did come clean about his abortion experience, Scotty found grace in his community of men.
Owning his sin also meant asking his ex-wife to forgive him for the role he played in the abortion. And, when the time was right, he admitted to his children that abortion was part of his story.
Forgiveness and grace are available
Scotty was reluctant at first when God prompted him to face his past. But when he finally admitted his wrongdoing, Scotty was able to receive forgiveness, grace and comfort.
"It's a lot easier to stay in denial than it is to go to your places of desperation," he says. "Thankfully, God will fill every inch of a man's brokenness with His grace if that man will own his sin.
"God doesn't call men to a place of desperation in order to leave them there. Desperation is just a stop along the way to the joy of the Lord. God wants to give men a joy and a peace that they haven't known, and that you can't know, until you are willing to embrace your desperation and brokenness."