Cradle My Heart Radio explores redemptive giving as we look forward to Palm Sunday
Recovering from the emotional and spiritual impact of abortion is not only possible, it’s exactly what God has in mind for you. And just as our choices led us to feel isolated and far from God after abortion, new and healthy choices such as redemptive giving can lead to new healthy emotions today.
What inspires redemptive giving is not the same thing as atoning for sin and it’s not driven by guilt. Nor is it regarded in the same way as charitable giving which is mandated to be done in private so as to preserve the dignity of the person in need (Matthew 6:3). Of course, it also differs from the tithe, or giving to the Lord’s work, which is a response to God’s abundant provision in our lives.
Jesus endorsed such giving when Zacchaeus engaged in the practice as told in Luke 19: 1-10. Sometimes I’ve heard this preached as stewardship, but I believe what happened that day is something else, and something with a great practical application for those of us who have transgressed both God and people, as in the case of abortion.
I am so captivated by this event in our Christian family history, I wrote a whole chapter about it in Cradle My Heart searching out the facts about this unusual encounter with our Lord and a despised tax collector on the day we celebrate as Palm Sunday while Jesus was passing through Jericho en route to Jerusalem. What I learned may surprise you as much as it must have surprised those who witnessed Jesus inviting himself to the man’s house that day. People grumbled about that–perhaps wondering if Jesus really was Messiah (although by this time Jerusalem was poised to welcome him as King-see Luke 19:38). When Jesus aligned himself with Zacchaeus, the henchman of the Romans and betrayer of his own people–his Jewish kinsmen–it must have looked all wrong. Wasn’t Jesus supposed to liberate the Jews from the oppressors–not join them at their homes for dinner?
Of course, being with Jesus changed Zacchaeus and made this former extortionist a generous man. When Zacchaeus gave back what he had taken, and gave even more as restitution, he was following the Levitical law for the guilt offering after sinning against the Lord’s holy things:
Leviticus 5:14-16 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the LORD’S holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.”
In our time the Lord’s holy things include our bodies and by extension the bodies of our unborn children. I’m so encouraged by God’s provision of restitution as a person who also appropriated what was not mine to take when I made the decision to end the life of my unborn child. Restitution is, again, not atonement, and not required under the New Covenant. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can forgive our sins. But the dynamic of restitution still serves to restore our standing, most importantly with ourselves as it provides a new memory, a healing perspective, and a positive ending to the grief and guilt abortion brings.
The Bible tells us the chief tax collector was the worst of the worst in terms of the brutality meted out against his fellow Jews, and I know that I often felt beyond redemption due to the brutal and traumatic nature of the abortion experience. It was very hard to shirk the hardness of heart which had allowed me to deny the very humanity of my own unborn child–my own people. But Zacchaeus understood that by giving his fortune away, he was sealing publicly the transformation God had privately worked in his heart.
God through Jesus not only forgave him but also provided a way for him to be restored to fellowship in the community.
Abortion may have left you feeling disqualified from serving at your church, or trapped in an unhealthy need for secrecy and self-condemnation because you know in your heart of hearts the abortion choice was selfish at its core. So, the question is, now that you are new in Christ, what do you have to give? Here are some things that I and others have done to give redemptively:
- Sponsoring a child through a Christian outreach like Compassion International
- Volunteering at church in the children’s ministry
- Seeking out and helping the poor in your area
- Giving the gift of life through living donor organ or tissue donation
- Bringing beauty to life by dedicating a bench or other enhancement in a public park
- Creating a scholarship or donating to one
- Speaking up for the unborn within your circle of influence
The possibilities are endless! Please leave a comment or join us tonight as we examine God’s love in action and explore how healing and giving work together in the aftermath of even our very worst mistakes.