Excerpted from the book The God of Second Chances by Steve Arterburn.
In college I dated a woman for whom I really cared. She was a Christian—bright, gentle, beautiful, and energetic. I believed we had a lot in common. Because we loved each other, I had an easy time convincing her to sleep with me. I justified my sin—and hers—by believing that loved covered everything. Yet, I discovered it was less love for her and more love for myself that lead me to seek sexual gratification. How shameful that I didn’t see what I was doing until it was too late. She missed one period, and then another. She was pregnant.
Although I loved my girlfriend, I selfishly did not want to shatter my musical career. Never once did I consider any options. Never once did I drop down on my knees and seek God’s forgiveness and ask Him to show me a responsible way out of the problem. She had to have an abortion.
I was deeply immersed in the philosophy of the world. If something is inconvenient–say, a broken radio, a bad marriage, or a baby—just get rid of it. So there we were, my girlfriend and I and the baby growing in her womb. I carefully laid out my plan with all the details already put together: go here at such and such a time, they will do such and such to you, and then it will be over. We can go on with our lives. I’ll even pay half the cost of the procedure.
My heartless and unbending pragmatism overwhelmed her. I never really gave her an opportunity to respond. No unwanted baby was going to stand in the way of my career. So she went because I convinced her it was the best way out of a bad situation and because she thought I loved her.
The guilt, shame, and remorse had emotional, physical, and spiritual consequences that had such a devastating effect on me that I almost lost my life. I fell into a deep depression, went on antidepressants, and began to feel as old as a grandfather. Within six months of convincing my girlfriend to have an abortion, I was diagnosed with eighty-three ulcers. My doctor told me that I would have to make some serious life-style changes or have my intestines or my colon removed. Within a year I had dropped out of my music major and abandoned my dream. At the time I had no idea what was causing me such misery.
Fortunately I came to an end of myself. In my depression I was able to acknowledge that I had made a complete mess of my life and that I needed God’s forgiveness and strength. I turned back to the narrow path. I found God’s surprising grace there. We all have wounds that never seem to heal—from childhood, from our sinful behavior, from living in the world. But the answer is not to pretend that they don’t exist or believe the world’s lies that we can alleviate them with self-gratifying pleasures.
We must face our wounds honestly, repent before God, and let Him surprise us with His amazing and healing grace. It is only then that we can begin to experience what God has intended and desired for us all along.
If you have taken part in an abortion and have never healed from this pain, you are probably today living with frustration, sadness, or pain in your relationships. I hope you will find encouragement from someone like you:
After attending our New Life Weekend, Maryann wrote: This weekend has blessed me by helping me to explore some painful hurts and feelings that have surfaced about post abortion that I never talked about. I discovered the anger and unforgiveness in me. I leave here surrendering this to God so I can live under his power now, and find a self worth to be free, to be me. Steve, you and your radio staff have been in my life for 12 years. You have given me laughter, tears, and hope. You gave me a message one day when I was listening. If anyone had ever had an abortion and doesn’t think that’s their ‘it’ it is. I’d like to thank you for that, thank God for giving me ears to hear that, and thank the person who have the scholarship who thought I was worth it.
If you’ve had an abortion, that’s what I call your ‘it.’ And until you find healing, ‘it’ will keep you from the forgiveness and joy your heavenly Father wants you to receive. Join us at our next New Life Weekend. We’d be honored to help.