More than a decade ago, Toni Braxton had an abortion. She was on the prescription acne medication Accutane, which is extremely dangerous to unborn children. She knew the risks and decided to end the pregnancy. But she now admits she would have likely had the abortion anyway simply out of convenience.
Years laters when her son Diezel was diagnosed with autism, Braxton believed it was a punishment from God. She was wracked with guilt after her abortion and was sure this was somehow God’s payback. Reading about her guilt and shame reminded me of the need for Christians to show extraordinary grace to women who have had abortions. And women who have had abortions need to understand something important about God. Here are three things for all of us to remember:
God is gracious. The Bible shows us that God does not continue to punish us for our mistakes. Psalm 103:12 says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” This doesn’t mean our sin won’t sometimes have consequences that we live with for the rest of our lives. If you contract an STD you may deal with the effects of that for years. If you alienate your children because of an affair those relationships may never get healed. But the consequences of our sin is not the same as continued punishment. When Christians repent, God forgives. If you are wracked with guilt over forgiven sin memorize that verse and repeat it to yourself daily. God is not punishing you!
Those who have had abortions need love. It’s true that abortion takes a life. I’ll not deny that. But once the act is done a Christian has two options when interacting with a woman who has had an abortion: they can reinforce the guilt and shame she is probably already feeling or they can shower her with love and grace. The Bible says God, “heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Do you want to be a part of that work of God’s grace in a woman’s life or do you want to be a reminder of the mistake she has made?
Don’t forget the men. There are men in this world who are equally hurt by abortion. They feel guilty over the loss of life. They may be ashamed if they pressured the woman to get the abortion. They need someone they can confide in so they can get healing. You can be that friend!
It’s important that Christians pray for the Holy Spirit to show them how to balance His grace and truth (John 1:17). We can’t allow ourselves to move too far toward one or the other. Jesus reflected both and so should we.