A PPL blog by Patti Withers
A couple of years ago I sat on a panel of Christian post-abortive men and women. “Silent No More” is an annual event hosted on a university campus by a pro-life organization in our city. It gives students the opportunity to hear about the aftermath of abortion from a Christian’s perspective. The woman I sat next to was amazing. Although she had three abortions, she spoke openly about her sin of murder and confidently about the forgiveness she had received through the shed blood of Jesus. Afterwards, others who knew her told me about how she would stand outside the abortion clinic every Saturday morning, Bible open, trying to persuade women not to go in. She was brave, strong, well-spoken, and bold.
I am not her.
In fact, the only things we have in common are that we both committed murder and we both found forgiveness in the cross of Jesus. After the Lord saved me, it took me over a decade to speak openly about my abortion. For years the only friend who knew about it was my husband. The shame of what I had done and the fear of being labeled, combined with the overwhelming message of condemnation that I heard from the Christian community kept me silent. And I suspect I’m not alone.
No, I know I’m not alone.
I remember sitting in a living room with some close friends a number of years back, shortly after I had spoken publicly for the first time about my abortion. Those friends knew my story and had heard me speak. Two of the men began talking between themselves about abortion, and one of them said, “I just don’t know how someone could do that.” I just sat silently. What could I say? I don’t know how I could have done that either.
It’s been hard to be on social media for the last three weeks. Scroll quickly past that image, don’t click on that video, hide that from my news feed, stop following that person. I’m not against the outrage; I’m outraged. I pray for the defunding of Planned Parenthood; what they are doing is evil. I want people to know about the horrors of abortion; I want it to stop. But something has been missing from the barrage, at least in my newsfeed and in my life.
It’s the Gospel.
As a post-abortive Christian woman, I’m tempted to accept the condemnation I often feel as my price to pay for what I did. I’m also tempted to accept the lack of care that I often feel as a consequence. I should find a way to be okay with the graphic pictures and the lone blog post reaching out to the post-abortive person in my newsfeed. I should just grin and bear the fact that very few friends have asked me how I’m holding up in the midst of this tidal wave. When others begin talking about “those” people, I should sit silently and take my licks. Sin has consequences, and some sins have life-long consequences. Some scarlet letters are meant to be worn for a lifetime.
But that’s a lie.
If you’re reading this as a post-abortive person, let me tell you some good news. I know that I need to hear some. The good news is that the Gospel is for baby killers. When Jesus came to bear our sins in His body on that tree He bore them all. There is no scarlet letter for you – or for me. Christ wore that scarlet letter and died so that it could be taken away forever. We are forgiven – and not only that – we are loved. The Father set His love on us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-10). Our omniscient, sovereign Father, who ordained all of our days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16), loves us. When the Father looks at us, He sees His beloved Son. Because of that we are beloved.
If you’re a Christian reading this who has never been a party to an abortion, praise God. No seriously, praise God! Praise God that He spared you that sin, and praise God that He saved you from all of your sins, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). May I humbly ask that you remember us in the midst of your zeal to end abortion? Maybe a pause to think about who will see what you post before you post it, maybe a phone call or a text to see how your post-abortive friend is holding up. If we truly believe that the Gospel is the answer to all of the ills we feel personally and societally, shouldn’t our news feeds and our mouths be as full of the Gospel as they are with the horrors of abortion?
Patti Withers serves as the Women’s Ministry Director at Immanuel Baptist Church. She and her husband Mike live in Louisville, Kentucky