I recently had a ministry experience which illustrated why abortion is still so common–one in three adult women and one of every teen girl in America has had an abortion. Since Christians can’t agree about the sin attached to abortion, our gridlock leaves us less and less relevant to those in need of healing and help. And if every Christian afflicted by spiritual issues after abortion were to be healed today, our critical mass would mean fewer and fewer would choose what continues to destroy our children and break our hearts.
My ministry experience happened in a context where we were called to help women overcome the spiritual problems which follow after abortion. Women feel alientated from God, themselves and others. We fear God’s punishment. We are deeply confused about whether or not a child has actually been lost–we are simply overwhelmed with painful questions and doubts. The answer God has given me is to repent the sinful aspects and grieve the life lost. There is a subtlety–not all abortion sins are equal. Some women are abandoned, some women are selfish, many are somewhere in between. But everyone involved in abortion can profit through the self-examination needed to determine if there is sin for which we need to repent.
Yet, when I encountered two other women who are truly mature in Christ, one took issue with the need to repent and the other balked about mourning and grief.
These reactions are part of the reason I wrote Cradle My Heart. As to the grief, I don’t think it is even possible to experience a healing grief until repentance has come. But the need for repentance is universal and almost as widely misunderstood. As my detractor put it, “I don’t confront people over their sin.” That’s not what repentance entails.
For me repentance was a gift of enlightenment and boldness to forsake my self-reliance and admit my need for God.
In the Bible Acts 3:19-20 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus.”
I want to go so far as to say no repentance = no Jesus. Repentance = refreshing in Christ. As I understand it repentance is a change of heart, a gift from the kindness of the Lord (Romans 2:4).
Do you agree? Have you experienced repentance? Or is it just an outdated concept based on legalism and guilt?