A Secret of the Heart
Unbeknownst to many, we live in a nation where millions of women (and men) carry a ‘secret of the heart’…one that heart- wrenchingly goes directly to the soul where it looms daily…dark and ominous.
It’s a life-altering secret that is held to tenaciously. After all, if they told someone they took the life of their own baby, they would never be held in high esteem again. They believe those close to them would not understand and would never forget, much less forgive. Further, to tell someone would mean to admit guilt, forcing them to come face to face with their hidden decision. It’s a journey many are unprepared and unwilling to face.
Why do women choose abortion?
Why do boyfriends, parents, husbands, friends, counselors and doctors force or coerce them to make that choice, truly believing it’s a good one? After all, abortion is legal. It is a woman’s right to control her own body, isn’t it? If it is such a ‘good choice’ according to our society, then why don’t women (or men) usually want to share their decision with others? Why the secret of the heart?
Women in Pain – Emotional Overload
Most of the time, women facing an unplanned pregnancy are on emotional overload. The fear is overpowering, even mind-crippling.
First of all, they can’t believe they are pregnant.
Many are dealing with guilt because they are unmarried and sexually involved.
When the pregnancy is shared with the father of the baby or parents, pressure and threats often follow, leaving the woman confused, hurt and feeling as if she has no choice but to have an abortion.
Physical conditions, financial issues, schooling, age, jobs, too many children to feed already, timing, gender preference, and threats of losing the relationship that created the pregnancy all contribute to making a choice for abortion.
In some cases, women make the choice for abortion without telling anyone except her partner and she truly carries that emotional burden, that ‘secret of the heart’, alone.
Making the Choice
Almost every woman who has had an abortion will tell you she was on ‘auto-pilot’ when she made her choice, especially churched women who were familiar with God’s Word (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 1:5).
For those women, they didn’t want to think about the baby or what God had to say about it; they just wanted the ‘problem’ to go away. These women could not imagine telling people in their church they were considering abortion or that they aborted their baby. They’ve heard or seen what other women went through when they sought help from their church and wanted no part of that.
To further complicate matters, confidentiality and privacy laws pave the way for no one to ever have to find out about those secrets of the heart taking place every day, allowing the abortive woman to stuff her feelings of guilt inside and rationalize the act because abortion is legal.
Realizing the Consequences
Statistics have proven that both the churched and unchurched woman who believe that abortion is wrong, but has one anyway, usually suffer afterward. Sadly, life will never be the same for her again.
She may feel relief initially, but eventually she will come face to face with her decision. It is not unusual for five, ten or even twenty years to pass before the abortion (or multiple abortions) is reckoned with.
In the meantime, feelings of regret and hopelessness are often associated with drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, additional abortions, feelings of low self-esteem, inability to relate to husbands and their other children, and a longing or a void that can’t be filled.
The desire to undo what is done is ever before them.
Many women have confessed, “Abortion ruined my life”, after they have come to grips with their decision.
They have often expressed their fear that a miscarriage or something bad will happen to future children as a form of ‘punishment’ from God.
Post–Abortive Men Suffer Too
Many men experience the same emotions that women feel concerning their children that have been aborted.
They have expressed feelings of helplessness and despair.
Because they are not the one to physically carry the child, they have no ‘rights’ when it comes to making an abortion choice. Consequently, they sit on the sidelines watching their children lose their lives, unable to stop it. And they suffer the loss too.
Men that pressed for abortion and found out later in life that it was wrong suffer as well, desiring to turn back the clock and give life to their offspring. Often they have no support system to help them work through their emotions and loss.
Finding Healing Through Jesus Christ
There is no mistake that abortion is the greatest tragedy of our day. It is the worst human holocaust history has ever known. The good news is that healing is possible.
God can and will forgive our sins (even abortion) through Jesus Christ if there is true repentance and a seeking of forgiveness that only He can give.
Abortion is a sin and for those that have experienced it, it will forever be a part of their lives. Sadness, at times, may sweep over those in abortion recovery, but the healing that Jesus brings will carry them through that sad time and allow them to regain their lives.
Providing Encouragement and Hope to the Wounded
Statistics have proven that women and men who talk about their abortion experience with others who have gone through the same thing can be very helpful and encouraging. Oftentimes, hearing someone else’s story and how they felt during that crisis helps the post-abortive woman or man understand that others have walked where they’ve walked. Though the circumstances may be different, the emotions are very similar and they all have the same goal — to share their grief and experience healing in a safe and loving place with others that care.
Post-abortive women and men need to know and feel the church (Christians) will lovingly help them recover from the devastation of abortion without condemnation or judgment.
To receive help, the post-abortive person must acknowledge that the abortion or multiple abortions took place.
They must then be willing to be vulnerable, to revisit the past, line up those actions with Scripture and deal with the abortion and issues one at a time. The issues may be so deep and so overwhelming that a professional Counselor is needed.
Others simply need the opportunity to share their story with someone they trust.
As the issues are dealt with, the woman or man seeking recovery is usually more willing to seek God’s forgiveness as well as forgive oneself. Forgiving oneself seems to be the most difficult action and it comes slowly for most, but genuine love and support can help carry the post-abortive person through the process.
They must also be willing to forgive those who contributed to the abortion decision.
Many post-abortive women and men find it helpful to name their aborted children and have even written letters to them, seeking their forgiveness as well.
To give encouragement and support, each of us as Believers should be prepared to lovingly share God’s Word as appropriate, be willing to offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and comfort to the grieving person(s).
Precious ones recovering from abortion should be covered in prayer while Jesus is healing their hearts.
For those entering into abortion recovery, the process is slow and filled with pain and grief. Grieving is hard work!
We should demonstrate God’s grace and we are with them for the long haul regardless of how long it takes for healing to take place.
As a trusted confidante, a Believer helping someone to recover from abortion must ensure them that their secret and all it entails will be kept strictly confidential. It is not our story to tell!
It is not uncommon to hold a memorial service for the lost baby, but I suggest you seek the support of those that are equipped to provide this type of service.
Helping someone recover from abortion is not easy and will take great grace and commitment. Ultimately, the outcome is worth going through the process. The LORD exposes the ‘secrets’ and the lies, shows the abortion recovery seeker His truths, heals their hearts, minds and souls…and sets them free.
Written by: Dr Charles F. Betters