I don’t know who she sat next to in church that week–or if she even went to church then. And for a long time after I met her, I had no idea what had happened in her life.
It all looked great from my viewpoint.
Then we went on a bus trip to the March for Life. I don’t know the moment that made a difference for her. I just know that she lived that moment and her life changed. She made a connection with someone she felt she could trust with her secret. And when she did, she found healing.
And I might not have ever known but for a chance meeting.
One Sunday morning, we were visiting a church in a neighboring community. And when we got out of our car, she got out of hers.
She was the guest speaker. She had come to tell us the secret she had carried for years. She had had an abortion.
And she told us about the someone who helped her. And the God who healed her.
Now she helps others. And those others are all around us. We just don’t know what they are living.
Perhaps one such person sat next to you last Sunday.
One in five women who reported that they’ve had an abortion were attending church weekly at the time.
Four in ten said they attended church regularly when they aborted.
Seven in ten aborting women identify themselves as Christians.
Only seven of 100 such women said they discussed their decision to abort with someone at their church.
Roland C. Warren of NetCare says, because the issue of abortion has been politicized, many pastors shy away from addressing it. So many women sit in the pews feeling that they cannot speak of their crisis pregnancies.
“[A]s a result of pastors’ withdrawal, there have not been broad-scale ministry on-ramps built around helping women and men make pregnancy decisions,” he writes.
It’s not about politicizing our churches. It’s about providing compassion to women who may hold pro-life convictions in their hearts even when they perceive that their desperate situation has no solution other than abortion.
It’s also about being the place of transparent compassion that says, “We will love you no matter what you face, no matter what you’ve done because there is a great God who loved us and you too.”
That’s the love that my friend found. And the love she offers.
That love is the Gospel.
And the Gospel is the message of Christ. The message of the Church–if we can be bold enough to share it.