I recently sat down with author and speaker Stephanie Gray. Stephanie travels the world to speak on abortion – in fact, just last year she was speaking at Google headquarters. We talked about abortion and Christianity. If you haven’t yet heard it, you should check it out.
After our formal conversation for the show, it occurred to me that I missed a vital question. The question was about those who’ve had an abortion, or those who’ve supported someone going through abortion – what is the hope they have, especially if they feel guilt or shame?
This was her response:
Stephanie, what comes to mind is a woman – a lovely, lovely woman I met years ago, probably more than ten years ago when I spoke on abortion in her community – and she shared with me that she’d had an abortion. She said that instinctively she felt bad, but that the world told her “You have no reason to feel bad.” And she said to me, “Stephanie, I felt worse. There was this inner struggle going on ‘I feel bad but I shouldn’t feel bad, I feel bad but I shouldn’t feel bad’.” And she said, “It wasn’t until I acknowledged that those bad feelings were legitimate, that I owned up to my sin, admitted that I had failed, that I was able to find healing.” Because ultimately what she experienced was that,
Healing comes from forgiveness, but forgiveness comes after repentance, and repentance comes after owning up to our sin.
And so for anyone listening (or reading) who finds themselves in a similar experience as this woman, I just want to encourage you that God is a loving and merciful God, who is so patiently waiting for you to come to his feet at the foot of his cross and be washed clean by his blood. And to experience not only that when you ask for forgiveness that he will forgive you, but he will then transform you.
You know you look at how Peter was so confident that he would not abandon Christ. But what did he do? He betrayed him. And yet, when he realized that he betrayed Christ, unlike Judas who despaired amidst his betrayal, Peter repented, came back to God, and then what did God do? He said, “Feed my sheep, feed my sheep.” He not only forgave Peter, he transformed Peter into a mighty leader of the early church.
And so, that’s the message of hope I want to give anyone who is feeling weighed down by that sin. And it is a sin, and we’ll only find healing when we own it as a sin, but to have hope that when we repent and experience God’s mercy, he will forgive and transform.