Thursday, August 6, 2015

"What If I Have Already Had an Abortion?"

My thoughts keep winding back to the women watching these Planned Parenthood videos who have, themselves, had abortions. I can imagine some women, especially those who had second or third trimester abortions, experiencing a deep sense of personal horror and grief. Down at the bottom of a woman is a wholly wholesome, natural, and real love for her baby, a love which well-coiffed abortion activists in suits and scrubs cannot really tamp down, try as they might.

Christian Scripture carries in it major themes of life and death. It is not only clamorous on the side of life, but also on the side of forgiveness. One of God's greatest heroes was once a killer.

"Let the Bones You Have Crushed Rejoice"

David -- shepherd, musician, poet, warrior, and king -- was beloved of God. David loved a woman named Bathsheba, whom he had spied bathing naked. But Bathsheba was already married to a soldier fighting on behalf of David's interests. When David couldn't cover up the fact that he had made Bathsheba pregnant, he had her husband killed.  There were those who were complicit in his act, but he is the one who ultimately had the authority to kill and the story is about him. After this, David recommenced life as usual, on the throne in Jerusalem, married to Bathsheba, this new bride of blood.

Nathan, the prophet, came to David and told him a story about a poor man's beloved little pet ewe lamb, which was taken, killed, and eaten by a rich man who had many sheep of his own, and the reality of what David had done penetrated and sickened him.

Stories and pictures make us see things more truly.

When David was made to really feel and see the evil in his acts, he became weak with the emotional understanding of his acts.  He talks about being "broken." He even said that his very bones were "crushed." I know what he means when he describes those feelings. I have felt that inner, gut-twisting sickness of realization about my own life at crucial points.

Being a poet, he describes his misery, repentance, and eventual relief in Psalm 51. Here is part of it:

"Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, O God, will not despise."

(Psalm 51, NIV emphasis mine)

Sin, followed by repentance, leads to real, true saving by a real, true Savior. Followed by relief and a renewed focus on serving God -- "May it please you to prosper Zion" is David's new prayer at the end of the Psalm. He is brought down, to be redeemed, in order to serve God truly again.

"Have Mercy on Me, O God...according to your great compassion."

My invitation to the women who have had abortions -- who believed the lies told by their culture, their political party, their doctors, their sisters, and perhaps even their family -- is to be a truth-teller. Tell the truth to yourself and God:

-- Talk to an already-knowing God
-- Confess what you have done to a righteous God
-- Ask forgiveness from a gracious God
-- And receive the profound relief -- and renewed purpose -- that are the gifts of a merciful, compassionate God
-- Go to church

Jesus Christ never takes something without giving something else back. He takes your sin upon himself, and gives in return his own Spirit, to those who believe.

Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 11, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

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