You pick up the stone on a Friday. At some time over the weekend, you’re supposed to put it down.
The stone can represent many things–your sin, your bitterness toward yourself, toward someone else. It’s the burden you’ve been carrying. It’s been the rock in the pocket of your heart for years.
But over the next few days, you’ll finally be able to put it down. And you’ll finally find healing you didn’t know was possible.
Such is the experience of many men attending a retreat to heal from abortion.
A typical situation begins with two people who come together in passing or in love–but always in passion.
She becomes pregnant.
He doesn’t resist when she says she’ll have an abortion–even though she may be hoping he will take a stand on behalf of their child–that he will choose to stand by her.
Or perhaps he pushes her to abort the baby.
Or perhaps he will learn of the abortion only after it’s already happened.
He’s often the neglected one in such situations.
Since before Roe v. Wade, we’ve heard that abortion is between a woman and her doctor. It’s nobody else’s business.
Except it doesn’t work that way–even though it may take him years to understand that the wound from abortion is the stone that has been weighing him down.
In The Tears of the Fisherman, Kevin Burke writes:
“[Many men] do not associate the symptoms they are suffering [depression, addiction, inability to maintain relationships] with that abortion event in their past. Even if a man is aware that he is hurting from participating in the death of his unborn child, there is no safe place to share that burden.”
He has no place to go–either because no one else knows about the abortion or because those who do know don’t want to discuss it.
Burke explains why healing is so important:
“When you went through that abortion experience the natural need for you to grieve the loss of your child and your parental relationship with your son or daughter was also aborted. For some men and women, forgiving self and letting go of the burden of self-condemnation feels like letting go of the only real connection with their unborn child or children.”
Yet there is hope–for both men and women. Hope comes, not in forgetting, but in honoring and remembering. Healing ministries provide the opportunity to remember, to name the child, to repent, to find forgiveness.
Burke’s book lists the following:
Abortionforgiveness.com is part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Menandabortion.net helps men find healing and works to raise awareness of men’s abortion pain in counselors, pro-life workers, and society at large.
House of Esau offers weekend retreats for men seeking healing from abortion.
And Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry for married couples, parents, and grandparents. This ministry provides the stone that symbolizes the burden of abortion.
Burke quotes an attendee of a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat: “After I picked up my rock, I was inspired to share with the group. ‘I’ve been carrying this rock for 14 years. I’ve been emotionally dead for that long.'”
He is dead no more.
Laying down the burden of death brings new life.