Monday, May 21, 2007

Forgiveness

A comment on my post on the 110,000 forgotten Canadians deserves a more detailed response. In writing and speaking about the abortion issue it is easy to forget that we are addressing women who have had an abortion, and maybe more than one, sometime in the past. The number of abortions that have been performed year after year in Canada and around the world mean that this is not an unusual experience. While most of our comments are directed at the wrongness of abortion and the need to protect unborn life, we must not forget the many people, both women and men, who have been traumatized in this way. Something needs to be said to them. The gospel of Jesus Christ demands it.

The first thing I want to say as a Christian, is that there is forgiveness available in Jesus Christ for those who acknowledge the sinfulness of their actions and ask God for mercy. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven, no matter how terrible its consequences. Only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable and that is because it is a sin against the remedy found in Jesus. When someone definitively and defiantly turns away from the grace of God that is freely offered in the gospel they shut themselves out of salvation. But if we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, God promises to blot out our sins and to remove them from us.

Second, we need those who have known God's forgiveness in this area of their lives to speak up. They need to tell their stories and how God has restored them to himself and given them a place in his family. Personal testimonies like this are very powerful. Abortion is often viewed as liberating women from male tyranny. But more and more women have come to see that this way of presenting abortion to women is a lie. Abortion damages women and keeps men from taking up their responsibilities. It liberates no one. This message is much more effectively communicated by women than by men. Those who have been restored by God's grace can testify from personal experience that abortion is not the way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. There are other options that do not negatively compound an already difficult situation.

Third, it is important to remember that the work of salvation is not complete until the new creation. The experience of divine forgiveness, as wonderful as that is, does not erase the scars and the physical, emotional and spiritual pain of sin. One day God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. We will be able to see how he is able to make something beautiful out of our lives, with all their jagged edges and things we wish we could do over again. Our memories are not blanked out when we come to God confessing our sins. We remember what we have done and sometimes the very thought is enough to make us wince inside as wave of guilt washes over us. When this happens we long for the day when we will be whole, when God will make all things new. Until that day comes we must rejoice in Christ, persevere in faith and be determined to live for God no matter what the cost. Our sins can make this difficult but there is substantial healing to be found in Jesus. In this we must live and delight.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

On Sunday as were driving on Appleby Line heading north towards the 407, we saw a billboard with a picture of lots of women that says "We regret our abortions, do you?" It has a helpline, etc at the bottom. That was really cool to see.

Kirk M. Wellum said...

Thanks for your comment Sarah... I think it is important for women to speak out on this subject if it is ever going to be curtailed.