Finding forgiveness and freedom after abortion
Millions of women and men, both in society and in the church, are suffering under the guilt of abortion. If you’re a woman who’s had an abortion or advised another to have one, this blog is for you. If you’re a man who’s been involved in an abortion decision, whether it concerned your girlfriend, wife, daughter or anyone, it’s also for you.
It’s counterproductive to try to eliminate guilt feelings without dealing with the cause of the guilt. You can only avoid feelings of guilt by denying reality. You need a permanent solution to your guilt problem — a solution based on reality, not pretense.
The good news is that God loves you and desires to forgive you for your abortion, whether or not you knew what you were doing.
The bad news
But before the good news can be appreciated, we must know the bad news. The bad news is that there’s true moral guilt, and all of us are guilty of many moral offenses against God, of which abortion is only one. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
Sin is falling short of God’s holy standards. It separates us from a relationship with God (Is. 59:2). “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
The good news
Jesus died on the cross as the only one worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by God’s holiness (2 Cor. 5:21). He rose from the grave, defeating sin and conquering death (1 Cor. 15:3-4, 54-57).
When Christ died on the cross for us, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Greek word translated “it is finished” was written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant “paid in full.”
Because of Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Salvation is a gift: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). This gift is not dependent on our merit or effort but solely on Christ’s sacrifice for us. God offers us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life, but it’s not automatically ours. In order to have the gift, we must choose to accept it.
You may think, “But I don’t deserve forgiveness after all I’ve done.” That’s exactly right. None of us deserves forgiveness. If we deserved it, we wouldn’t need it. That’s the point of grace.
Once forgiven, we can look forward to spending eternity with Christ and our spiritual family (John 14:1-3; Rev. 20:11-22:6). You can look forward to being reunited in Heaven with your loved ones covered by Christ’s blood, including the child you lost through abortion (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
God doesn’t want you to go through life punishing yourself for your abortion or for any other wrong you have done. Your part is to accept Christ’s atonement, not to repeat it. No matter what you’ve done, no sin is beyond the reach of God’s grace. He has seen us at our worst and still loves us. There are no limits to His forgiving grace. And there is no freedom like the freedom of forgiveness.
The need for support
Joining a group for post-abortion healing can help you immensely. You may have bitterness toward men who used and abused you and forgiveness issues toward those who helped you with your abortion decision (see Matt. 6:14-15). There are post-abortion Bible studies designed for women, and others for men. Many online resources can help you find the support group you need. (See Healing Hearts and and afterabortion.org; call 1-888-486-HOPE for free confidential advice.)
You need to become part of a therapeutic community, a family of Christians called a church. (If you’re already in a church, share your abortion experience with someone to get the specific help you need.) You may feel self-conscious around Christians because of your past. You shouldn’t. A true Christ-centered church isn’t a showcase for saints but a hospital for sinners. The people you’re joining are just as human and imperfect as you. Most church people aren’t self-righteous. Those who are should be pitied because they don’t understand God’s grace.
A good church will teach the truths of the Bible and will provide love, acceptance and support for you. If you cannot find such a church in your area, contact EPM, and we’ll gladly do what we can to help you.
A healthy step you can take is to reach out to women experiencing unwelcome pregnancies. God can eventually use your experience to equip you to help others and to share with them God’s love. My wife and I have a number of good friends who’ve had abortions. Through their caring pro-life efforts they’ve given to other women the help they wish someone had given them. Telling their stories has not only saved children’s lives, and mothers from the pain of abortion, but has helped bring healing to them. It can do the same for you.