Mari Bowers of Compassion Pregnancy Centers of NE Indiana tells about a recent phone call from a client. Months ago, she'd been turned from abortion by a caring volunteer's counsel and the center's practical support. She'd given birth, but nonetheless struggles with guilt. Whenever she looks at her baby, she feels sad about having seriously considered abortion. Now she wanted to know if the center had a program to help her with this problem.
Does a request like this pose a challenge for PCCs? Should they create new ministries to meet this need, or invite women to join post-abortion support groups already in place? Is this a common feeling among other women who've considered abortion, or something unique to this woman?
I can only speculate about what's going on in her mind. Apparently the temptation had been more than fleeting. Mari said this client had returned repeatedly to the center over the course of five or six weeks. The idea of abortion had taken root and was difficult to dislodge, yet something prevented her from that irrevocable mistake. Was it God? And is the source of her current discomfort also God at work?
What would you say to her? My advice might focus on discerning true from false guilt. And on the freedom we have to air any emotion with God.
As a convicter of sin, the Holy Spirit is reliable and accurate. The believer can ask God to show definitively whether there is actual guilt attached to guilty feelings, and what the nature of any sin is. Sin must be identifiable, otherwise how can it be confessed and rooted out?
This presupposes that the inquirer belongs to God, has the Holy Spirit resident in her. Religion won't help. The gospel must be declared as the only remedy for sin. If a person wants to be delivered from sin and declared righteous before God, she must "confess with [her] mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in [her] heart that God has raised Him from the dead." (Romans 10:9)
Further, if she confesses her sins, "He is faithful and just to forgive [her] sins and to cleanse [her] from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) God is reliable and faithful; no one loves the sinner more. It is safe to go to Him with any sin. I would introduce her to Psalm 103.
But is it wrong to consider abortion? I've known deeply pro-life married women who regret abortion is legal because the thought crossed their minds regarding an untimely pregnancy. Yes, abortion is a blot on all our consciences as Americans, but one might as well ask, "Is it wrong to be tempted?"
I don't believe the Bible teaches that being tempted is sinful, but it does tell us our thoughts are significant. Perhaps what this woman needs to confess is a thought-life, belief-system, or world-view that runs counter to God's ways. She might need to figure out which patterns must change in order for her thoughts to be aligned with His.
Then there are behaviors and attitudes related to thoughts of abortion that could require confession: sexual sins, idolization of a lover, lying or hypocrisy, covetousness or greed, pride, denial of God, other acts of carelessness with life.
Most people don't set out to kill, but their choices put them in the way of doing it. They might drink and drive, associate with criminals, participate in petty crimes that get out of hand . . . or engage in promiscuous sex leading to the possibility of abortion. Without a doubt, sexual sin puts people in danger of abortion.
God is clearly at work in this woman's heart. A person does not convict herself of sin (John 16:8). The average person excuses and justifies her own sin. But the Tempter is also our accuser. His lies can only be overcome by the application of God's truth (Matt. 4:1-11).
We don't know this woman's name, but we can pray for her tender soul. We hope she learns to rejoice that God helped her escape a sin that would have bound her in a dungeon of shame, darkness, and despair. He has already been gracious to her:
- He led her to the center and blinded her eyes to the abortion provider.
- He led a group of people to establish pregnancy care centers in Angola and LaGrange, Indiana, and enabled others to support them.
- He called people like Mari and the volunteers so they could be in place when she needed them.
- He equipped them with training, and with materials to share.
It takes quite a lot to spare a person from sin. Her story is a reminder we all need prayer to avoid temptation (Luke 22:40, Matt. 6:13).
Related -- A close encounter with abortion: One life that wasn’t snipped short