YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE DONE – Finding Freedom from Post Abortion Guilt
By Rhonda Stoppe
(This article first appeared Sonoma Christian Home Magazine 9/15/16)
Whenever I speak at a women’s event, I am often approached by a woman me burdened with the shame she feels over a choice she made at a vulnerable time in her life. Maybe you can relate?
I heard somewhere that 45% of women over age 50 have had an abortion. Whatever the statistic there are many women who live under the shadow of guilt from a past abortion. I regularly meet women who have never told anyone about an abortion they have had.
So, what hope is there for the woman who is plagued with guilt over an abortion? How can we encourage these women?
We must stop judging. I know the woman I would be without Jesus––how about you? I relate to the story where Jesus meets the woman at the well. I am confident that meeting Jesus at a young age rescued me from having a similar story as this vulnerable woman. When we get honest with ourselves, I think we know the depths of our sinful hearts without Christ.
Realizing our own vulnerability is what makes us effective to minister to others who are wrestling with regret. We must offer hope. If you are in the grip of shame from having had an abortion you can know that in Christ, God forgives all sins. Not some––all.
The prophet Isaiah has this to say about our sinful past:
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow.
Sometimes it is the secret we carry that keeps us in bondage. If you wrestle with shame from having an abortion, you can know God knows every secret, and He is waiting for you to come to Him––so He can set you free.
Jesus said: If the Son sets you free you are free indeed John 8:36 Let that sit with you a moment. Jesus wants to set you free from the burden of guilt and shame.
It is Satan who is waving that wicked finger in your face whispering things like: “God will never forgive you…God can never use you”. If the enemy can keep you in bondage, He can steal from you the good that God wants to accomplish through your life because of what you have experienced––Not in spite of but because of your experience. God promises to use for good anything in our lives that Satan meant for evil––if we would but agree with God that we have sinned and run into His loving arms for complete forgiveness.
I know it’s not popular to call abortion “sin.” For that matter, it’s not popular to call any sin, a sin. And I am sure I will receive emails from people who vehemently disagree with this article, but for you––yes you, who is ready to be set free, I am willing to submit this controversial article because true forgiveness for sin––any sin, comes when we admit we have sinned and then believe that God sent His Son to wash away all of our sin and shame.
When you run to Jesus you will be set free––isn’t that amazing? God promises:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
1 John 1:9
Learn from the Apostle Paul:
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you (Philippians 3:13-15).
What do you suppose from the Apostle Paul’s past he had to intentionally forget? Could it be that Paul would have remembered that it was he who was cheering on the angry mob as they cast stones at Stephen, when he was being martyred for his faith? Or perhaps the memory of weeping women and children as Paul–then Saul–would have torn their husbands, and fathers, from their homes to suffer persecution, and even die, because they were Christians?
I don’t know about you, but I think if Paul can choose to forget those things he had done, and strain forward to what lies ahead, so can you and I. In Philippians 3:15 Paul alludes to Christian maturity. As you mature in your walk with Christ, through prayer, Bible Study, and fellowship with mature Believers, you too can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ to be able to forget whatever sins from your past that haunt you.*
Remember the story in 2 Samuel 11 of David and Bathsheba? After having an affair with the King, Bathsheba kept her mouth shut as David sent her husband, Uriah to his death––to cover up their sin. And then for more than a year David and Bathsheba pretended that they had done nothing wrong.
Until finally the prophet Nathaniel confronted David with their sin proclaiming, “you are the man.” Imagine how miserable David and Bathsheba were as they hid their sin, and how relieved they must have been when finally God sent someone to tell them, “it’s time to repent.” Psalm 51 David describes how miserable he was until he came clean about their sin. And then reveals David’s prayer of repentance and hope for how God will continue to use Him, as God creates in him a clean heart (take time to meditate upon Psalm 51).
Here’s what I don’t want you to miss. Once David received God’s forgiveness, God gave David and Bathsheba a son who would be the next King of Israel. Notice, of David’s many wives, God granted Bathsheba the honor of being the mother of the next king. What an incredible picture of God’s complete forgiveness!
You see, God uses greatly those who have experienced His abundant forgiveness. Of the prostitute who washed His feet, Jesus said: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). I pray that in Christ you find true freedom from shame to love Jesus with all of your being, so that in your liberty God will do through you more than you could ever imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Rhonda Stoppe offers a biblical perspective to build a no regrets life. She is not a licensed therapist. For more help find a Biblical Counselor
(If you would like to know how find forgiveness in a relationship with Jesus, contact me at NoRegretsWoman.com and I will send you the article: How to Have a Relationship with Jesus.)
THIS ARTICLE BY RHONDA STOPPE first appeared in Sonoma Christian Home Magazine:
Rhonda Stoppe teaches women to live life with NO REGRETS.
Rhonda’s book MOMS RAISING SONS TO BE MEN is mentoring thousands of moms to parent without regrets. And her new book IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY is guiding women toward a NO REGRETS MARRIAGE.
With over 20 years experience as a pastor’s wife, speaker, mentor, and author, Rhonda has helped women build no-regrets lives by helping them discover significance and purpose for life, build an incredible legacy, and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible.To learn more about Rhonda Stoppe please visit NoRegretsWoman.com