I’m a Pastor and a Post-Abortive Father. Here’s My Message
“Why didn’t someone do something?” Those five words still haunt my thoughts today. Sometime ago, I sat speechless as I listened to a man recount his trip to a Holocaust museum with his young daughter. As they walked by photos of the death camps and gas chambers, his daughter silently contemplated the horrors unfolding before her eyes.
When the tour ended, they drove home without saying a word. The father wondered if she truly understood the significance of the event. Was she too young to view such depravity? Was she too fragile to cope with the truth of the Holocaust? Would it make a negative impact on her life? Maybe leave her fearful and wounded? Would she begin to doubt God?
His questions were answered nearly two hours later when his daughter finally spoke. She looked at her father and asked, “Daddy, why didn’t someone do something?”
Will we hear those same haunting words from our children and grandchildren? Yes! If we fail to contend for what is right, we may see a time in our history when our children will ask, “Why didn’t someone do something?” Sadly, we may not be able to answer.
My Abortion Decision
Approximately 28 years ago, as a prodigal, I conceded to my girlfriend’s request to abort our child around the fifth week of conception. The pain of that decision still haunts me today. What would the child have looked like? Was it a boy or a girl? I can picture walking and talking with my child … watching his or her first steps … holding him when he cried or rejoicing with her when she succeeded. But these are just dreams in my mind; dreams that often leave me heartbroken. Regret is one of the hardest pains to deal with because it is a constant reminder that we failed — failed God, others and the aborted child.
Groups such as Planned Parenthood say that there are little, if any emotional scars for the women involved — the baby is just tissue. This is very deceptive — the emotional scars can last a lifetime. And it’s not just women who feel the pain. Men often carry tremendous guilt as well.
I Cannot Keep Silent
This article was extremely difficult for me to write — I shed many tears, contemplated deleting it and prayed diligently for direction. But I cannot, and will not, remain silent.
There is a reason why “mother,” “baby,” and “abort” have been changed to “a woman’s right to choose”; it’s a marketing ploy designed to hide a brutal practice. The graphic description of an abortion is heart wrenching and soul searching and would require a WARNING for the graphic content if I included it. Life is precious. We must fight for it. Focus on the Family says it well: “From the formation of a child’s first tiny cell to life’s final breath, all life has dignity and value because each and every one of us is made in the image of God.”
Abortion: Hope for the Hurting by Shane Idleman from Westside Christian Fellowship on Vimeo
Hope For The Hurting
How can we undo the emotional pain that we experience from abortion? First, don’t allow past brokenness to cause future pain. We are to forget those things that are behind us and focus on those things ahead (Philippians 3:13). You can’t change where you’ve been, but you can change where you’re going. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Christ died for every sin, including abortion.
Second, realize that there is hope for those who have participated in, or who have had an abortion. If this is you, I encourage you to read Psalm 51 often. God’s unfailing love and compassion will see you through. We lean on His strength for the future, not on our failures from the past.
A few years ago, with my wife’s support, I was able to locate my old girlfriend, who’d had the abortion. I apologized and asked for forgiveness. She did the same. This one act of forgiveness brought me tremendous closure and peace.
John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life, freedom and a relationship with Him. He is our only hope — the only source of true peace. Are you experiencing this peace? If not, that can change if you trust in Him as Lord and Savior — repent and turn to Him: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The Pastor’s Responsibility
Although my confession was not intended for publication, the need to address silence in the pulpit about abortion outweighs the pain of releasing it. An article in World Magazine, “Still-Silent Shepherds,” convinced me to move forward.
Pastors, make no mistake about it: we play an enormous role in shaping the direction of the country. We can no longer stay mum while silent screams go unheard. Deep repentance must take place at the individual and national level. Our consciences have been seared. Our job is to preach the totality of God’s Word, including those things that are hard to hear, so that both conviction and comfort take place.
When human life is devalued, atrocities such as the Holocaust, slavery, sex-trafficking, and abortion occur. God help us when we ignore our calling to confront evil. Pastors are to be pillars who support truth. When was the last time your pastor discussed this controversial topic from the pulpit? Change will not occur until we confront sin rather than hide from it. As Leonard Ravenhill said, “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.”
Hope for Our Country?
Today, the truth is often neglected, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of building an audience and not offending. Abortion rarely gets mentioned. So repentance is rarely sought and hope is elusive. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict.
With rapid-fire changes in a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask, “Is there any hope for America?” If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around — the vessel has been struck. But if God brings revival — if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him — there is tremendous hope.
As the moral and cultural war rages between our shores, the need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber has never been greater. “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested” (Martin Luther). This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice — stand or fall.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the creator of the WCF Radio Network. Find his books, blogs and sermons at ShaneIdleman.com. See the trailer for Pastor Shane’s book Desperate for More of God and follow him on Facebook for weekly sermon videos and articles.