Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Abortion and God's Forgiveness

"Will God forgive me if I have an abortion?" It's a question many women have. I didn't realize how common a question it is until I wrote about this subject last time. Perhaps you are thinking about an abortion or already had one and are wondering about this. If so, please keep reading, and I think you'll find your answer.

If you are asking this question, you already know that God views abortion as a sin--as murder in fact. So the question is, what is God's criteria for forgiveness of a sin? Or more simply: What do I need to do to be forgiven?

In a word, Repent. To repent is to change your mind about your actions so completely that you change your actions. Part of that is being sorry for what you've done. Not just sorry for the circumstances that you feel forced you into doing it, but sorry that you did it, regardless of the circumstances.

Some people will think about a sin (abortion or something else), decide that they will repent the next day, and go ahead and do it. Perhaps the next day they tell God, "I shouldn't have done that. Please forgive me." And they think every time they want to commit that sin they can do it, and then just smooth things over with God. That isn't repentance. And God does not forgive someone who hasn't truly repented.

So if you are thinking about having an abortion, you will either come to deeply regret it, or you will never be forgiven. That mixture of relief and guilt you may feel is not repentance. You have not repented until you come to the place where, if you were in the same situation, you would not commit the sin that you did.

If you already had an abortion and you are sorry that you ever did it, and you wish you could undo it, and you have committed that you will never do it again--in other words, if you have repented of the sin--you are ready to find God's forgiveness and healing.

But when you come to God for forgiveness, you can't come to have one sin removed and hold on to the rest. With God it is all or nothing. You only come to God through Jesus. He paid for your sins when He died on the cross for you. To receive the forgiveness He died to provide, you must trust in Jesus. That means you depend on what He did to pay for your sins. It also means you believe what He said about being God--you trust Him enough to obey Him. You don't come to the bargaining table with God. You have to surrender everything.

Imagine God as a king with subjects. Someone has led an insurrection against him, and he is going to punish the rebels. If a rebel comes to him and says, "I'm sorry about one crime I committed, but I'm not sorry about all of the rest," the king won't have much mercy on him. But perhaps the rebel comes to him and says, "I'm ashamed of everything I did. I can't make it up to you. I have nothing to give you to repay the damages. But I submit to you now, and I'll do anything you tell me now." Then the king forgives him, and adopts him as his own child, and gives him an inheritance in his kingdom.

God wants complete repentance and a complete submission to Him. In return, He forgives completely. He never brings your rebellion up to you again. He chooses to forget it, and treats you as if you had never rebelled. He gives you peace instead of guilt. He heals your broken heart. He assures you of His love for you. He gives you help to do what you ought to do when you feel like giving up. He promises that He will never leave you. He adopts you as His child and gives you a supportive family of His other children. He guarantees that no power or circumstance, including death itself, can ever rob you of your relationship as His child.

Some people try to prove their repentance by punishing themselves. They think that if they cause enough pain to themselves, God will be more likely to forgive them. They may cut themselves or develop an eating disorder. That's trying to pay for our own sin and satisfy God on our terms. Rather than submitting to God and accepting His free forgiveness, that's telling God you don't need Him. It's a sign of continued rebellion.

Whatever your situation, depend on what that Jesus did for you, submit to God and obey Him. Enjoy His forgiveness, and allow Him to heal you.

Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

"Among these are Life..."

This Independence Day we celebrate a declaration, not only of the independence of 13 colonies, but also of some timeless truths that our Founding Fathers recognized: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

When Congress or the Supreme Court or anyone else tells us what rights we have or don't have, let us never forget that it is God Himself that has given rights to all men, based on the fact that He created them in His own image. Human rights come from God, not from government. Our Founding Fathers knew that, and we must not forget it.

The rights to life, liberty, and property are all under assault, but the chief among these is the right to life--a right which our laws fail to protect before birth (and in some cases after an injury or debilitating disease).

There are many fronts in the battle for God's gift of life. Some battle the forces of death in the legislatures. Some in the courts. Some in the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Some educate young people about the dangers of immorality and urge them to abstain until marriage. Others volunteer at pregnancy helping centers, persuading women not to abort. Still others stand as a last line of defense at the abortion clinics themselves, either protesting or doing sidewalk counseling. With so many different fronts, there are many gaps in which to stand.

Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to defend the freedoms they held dear. As we honor all the patriots who have risked and given their lives in defense of our freedom, let us commit to defend the God-given right to life with equal resolve--and with equal reliance upon the Author of life and the Giver of liberty.

Wesley Wilson

Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.

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