Last week, I wrote harsh words about America’s abortion industry and those who think abortion is something worth celebrating. It’s a practice that should be condemned, and those who endorse it will experience God’s condemnation unless they repent.
But I must also offer a word of grace.
While many women celebrate abortions, there are many others who weep over a past abortion. They deeply regret having one, and they are left with their remorse and sorrow. Because of the church’s strong stand against abortion, these women feel equally condemned. The killing of unborn children is certainly sin, but like all sins, Christ extends His grace and forgiveness to those who come to Him.
We need to be conduits of God’s grace in the lives of these women.
That can be difficult because we don’t always know who these women are. While 40 percent of women who have had abortions were church members at the time, only seven percent of women discuss their abortion decision with anyone at church. Among women who’ve had an abortion, 33 percent think the church is judgmental, 26 percent believe the church is condemning, and 16 percent consider the church cold. [Lifeway Research] In some cases, I don’t think they’re wrong.
We must learn to balance our stance against sin with a heavy dose of God’s grace. Most believers would agree with the oft-quoted phrase “Hate the sin, but love the sinner,” but too often those are just words we utter.
We must show unconditional love.
We can include these women in church gatherings, women’s events, family meals. We don’t hold them at arm’s length, but we embrace them as we would any repentant person. In other words, we are to treat them as we wish to be treated. After all, if you’re a believer, you too are a repentant sinner.
I’m not asking us to lay off our stance against abortion. But I am asking us to check our words and language so that we don’t come off sounding like abortion is the unforgivable sin. I love how Paul handled this. To the Corinthian church, he wrote clearly about those who will not get into the kingdom of God.
“No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males, no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
That’s blunt. But in the very next verse …
“And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11).
That is what you used to be! In Christ, our past no longer determines our future. Our sin does not define us. Christ does. And by our words and actions, we can be conduits of the same grace-filled message to women who would love to hear that.
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