Abby Johnson left her position as a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas because she couldn’t hurt women anymore. She has documented many of her experiences in the abortion industry. Recently, Abby shared a story every Christian needs to hear.
A woman, visibly upset, walked into the clinic. Abby counseled her. Then suggested she go home to think about her decision. “She was insistent,” Abby remembers. “This abortion must happen today.” She asked if Abby would hold her hand during the procedure.
Sedation was given, but the woman “cried even harder.” She “was shaking” when the abortionist walked in the room. “He did something,” Abby said, “that left me speechless.” The doctor walked over to the woman and took her hand. Abby recounts the conversation that followed.
“Why the tears?” he asked.
“I just feel really guilty about doing this,” the woman responded.
He asked her why she felt guilty. She said, “Because I just know this is a sin.” He paused for a minute and looked at her. He smiled and said, “No. It is not your sin. It is mine. I will take on your sin. I commit the sin. Not you.”
Her crying stopped. “It was bizarre,” remembers Abby. “Did he really think he was committing a sin? How could he do it if he really thought that? Did he think he was taking on the sins of these women by helping them obtain abortions? What a heavy burden to bear. It was hard for me to process . . . it still is.”
Abby carried her own burden while working at Planned Parenthood. She remembers thinking that “if I died while I worked there, I would probably go to hell . . . I was so unsure of who God was or what His ‘will’ actually meant . . . I was completely misdirected.”
As compassionate as the abortionist in Abby’s story sounds, he, too, was misdirected. None of us can be a scapegoat for another’s sin. No other person can be a scapegoat for our sin. There is only one Scapegoat. He is Jesus Christ.
Abby needed Jesus Christ. She is the mother of two aborted children. Her abortionist was guilty, but so was she. Abby has repented. Laid her sins at the foot of the Savior’s Cross. But, what about the church? Some Christians, observes Abby, say, “Shame on the abortionist.” Others say, “Shame on the women who have abortions.” But, “you know what? Shame on us!”
I remember when I first became involved in Lutherans For Life. I read about Dr. Bernard Nathanson who co-founded the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). He explained how important it was for Christian churches to stay silent on the issue of abortion. On the speaking trail, I remember how often I heard Lutheran parents, grandparents, and congregational leaders defend abortion. At last count, 25 of my friends, relatives or acquaintances have shared their abortion decisions with me. All are Christian. Many attend regular Bible study or sing in the choir. Some are wives of pastors.
Abby says, “Shame on us.” I guess I’ve been saying something similar for many years. Lutheran women’s groups serve in countless mission fields, but forget the mission field of mothers who aborted their children. Congregations offer every possible support group from drug abuse to divorce; from weight loss to grief counseling. But, the grief suffered after abortion — by the one who performed the procedure and the one who chose the procedure — is ignored. The church is silent. In our minds, we justify. Rationalize. Excuse.
Satan wants us to remain silent. “It’s none of your business,” he whispers. “Besides, does God really say that abortion is so wrong… considering the circumstances?” But, Jesus stands with His arms outstretched to block the way. “Don’t do this thing and sin against God!” After the abortion, He remains close to both the abortionist and the mother who aborted her child. His arms are open and welcoming. “Come to Me and I will forgive the guilt of your sin.” Jesus Christ invites – compels – His church to do the same. He wants us to speak up. Warn. If the deed is already done, He compels us to speak again. Expose sin. Help the sinner to confess and then approach His throne of mercy and grace. To do nothing… to remain silent… is to participate in deception. Share the sin. Perpetuate the horror.
When I am restless… anxious… and burdened by guilt, I must look to no one but Christ. My doctor, pastor, or husband cannot take on my sin. But, “I will take your sin,” says Jesus. No matter what we have done (or failed to do); no matter if we’ve chosen, performed, or defended an abortion, we need to acknowledge our sin. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). With His forgiveness, Christ sets us free to move outward into the lives of others – with hope.
Grace Kern, director of Word of Hope, visits daily with women who’ve been held prisoner to lies and excuses. Grace does not take on the sins of these women, but she tells them of Jesus who took on the sins of the world. Throughout the year, I meet with women in the church who’ve been held prisoner to lies and excuses. I do not take on the sins of these women, but tell them of Jesus who sacrificed – once and for all.
O Lord, bring us all out of prison, that we may give thanks to Your name (Psalm 142:7).
Call Grace Kern at Word of Hope (888) 217-8679
First printed in LifeDate