God Heals You From Abortion by John Burke

At Gateway Church in Austin, we concluded a series called God Heals You.

Abuse in our society is widespread but often remains a hidden wound for so many. We want to be healed, to live in God’s compassion and grace, but this menace of secret pain continues to flow under the current of everything we do. Even if you have not experienced this type of wound, you likely know or live with someone who has. We can’t escape the effects. We find ourselves or those we love chained, deeply hurt, and separated from the freedom God wants to provide. How can we discover the wholeness that God has for us? How can we share it with those around us who desperately need to hear? During this series, God Heals You, we will seek to learn from experts and hear stories about those who have found this healing from God.

In this series, we talked about things too often not discussed:

Next Steps:

Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

God Heals from Abortion Next Steps

Message Video:

God Heals You – From Abortion from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

Message Notes from John Burke:

Dori has been a part of Gateway for 17 years, yet it was just a few years ago that she realized she needed to heal. It took her that long to realize that abortion took something from her that God wanted to restore.

We have people on our staff and in our leadership who have had abortions long ago, and realized the same thing – God loves them and wants to heal them – and they’ve found healing and freedom from guilt and shame that locked them in that prison of pain and pride that Dori talked about. That’s why we’re talking about this today.

No Longer Suffering in the Silence

God heals you when you’ve had or been party to an Abortion, and we can be a healing community for those needing it.

I’m sharing this because I love you, and I’ve counseled so many over the years still suffering decades later.

Statistically speaking about 1/3 (or more) listening on all our campuses have been affected personally by an abortion. I want you set free of all fear of condemnation forever. This message is not about the laws of the land or the Supreme Court or politics. This is about helping those of you who have suffered in silence with nowhere to go.

This entire series has been about talking about issues that no one wants to talk about, but we need to talk about them because God wants to heal you!

This year, we’ve spoken out against racism, not from a political standpoint, from a standpoint of God’s value of every human life. Some things get politicized, but they’re really bigger than that—they’re about God and his love and will for all humanity. So we need to look at this from God’s perspective.

Though no one wants to have an abortion, yet 1/3 of us has, and there’s a lot of hurt and pain that results but nobody’s talking about it. Some of you may be thinking “it’s just a physical procedure.” But that’s not the full truth.

CBS news reported in an article titled “Do women who have an abortion risk their mental health?” a study that shows “women who had an abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk for mental health problems including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. First published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers studied 877,000 women, 164,000 of them had an abortion. A summary of their findings indicates the following:

“Women who had an abortion were 34 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, 37 percent more likely to experience depression, 110 percent more likely to abuse alcohol, 155 percent more likely to commit suicide, and 220 percent more likely to use marijuana.”
– British Journal of Psychiatry

Right here among us there’s a lot of residual hurt, guilt, shame, and pain that God wants to remove and heal.

God Enters The Story

We have to start where God starts—with Grace. God enters into the broken, painful reality of our world because he loves us.

Through the Old Testament prophets God foretold how his love for you and me would cause him to enter our world as Messiah – as a Savior/Rescuer – the One who would rescue us from evil and take away the fear of judgement, condemnation, even death.

Do you realize the Messiah entered our world as an Unplanned Pregnancy!?
Jesus came cloaked in scandal, shame, talk of illegitimacy and sexual immorality—God chose an Unplanned Pregnancy of an unwed, teenager as his entry point into humanity.

680 years before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah foretold why Messiah would come:

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all…he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5-6 

Healed, Whole, Forgiven. Can you hear those words?
Healed and whole and set free—that’s what God longs to do for All who have left His path and gone our own way (and that’s all of us).
Jesus came to set us free from the crushing weight of condemnation from the past, to heal us and make us whole and new again.

The only way to find Healing and Wholeness is to bring it all into God’s light.

The Cost of Abortion

There’s a hidden cost to abortion that no one talks about. The rhetoric says, “it’s no big deal. It’s like removing a wart.” As a pastor, I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of men and women who have lived for years and decades under a soul-crushing weight.

Reality is there’s often a cost to abortion that shame keeps hidden.

I talked to 7 women and 2 men here at Gateway who had abortions and they said to me:

“You’ve got to tell people the truth.”

2 of the 7 women cannot have babies due to scars from abortion–nobody talks about that.

None of the 9 people I talked with were following God when they got an abortion, they thought “it’s a quick medical procedure that will allow me to get on with my life.”

All of them (men and women) said there’s a horrible psychological/spiritual cost nobody talks about.

Carol Everett finally shared some of the cost of abortion. She operated an abortion clinic and got extremely rich off doing abortions, on target to make $280,000 her second year in business. What pricked her conscience was seeing all the pain and suffering and medical complications of the young women—mostly teens. She wrote a book called Blood Money: Getting Rich Off a Woman’s Right to Choose in which she talks about how it’s big industry that glosses over the post abortive medical problems.

It’s not just physical. No matter where a person falls politically or religiously, abortion does something to the soul that is never talked about or factored in to the decision.

Listen to how one woman explained it:

“I was very pro-choice, and I wasn’t a believer at all, but after the procedure, I knew that something inside of me had died. I knew that part of my soul was taken from me, but it was too late … I saw them literally dump my insides into a black trash bag and take it away. I felt horrible and threw up. Life afterward was horrible. All I could think about was what I had done. I didn’t understand why I was feeling these things when I thought it was morally fine. But the reality of what I had done and the part of me that felt it had died was unbearable—until finally I tried to kill myself. Miraculously, I lived (for which I now thank God), but I lived with buried pain and shame for many years. Last year, I began a process of letting God into all those extremely painful places. It’s taken me 15 years to say I now have that part of my soul back, but it took letting God into those dark places.”

Why is this soul-pain so common?

Because evil has lied to us, but our hearts know the truth. If you’ve been here the past month, we’ve seen that Evil hates us—it’s power is in the lie—first it hurts us, then it deceives us about God’s goodness, so we turn from God, and it tricks us into hurting each other. But remember, people are not the enemy—evil is the enemy—and we fight evil with truth. 

Conception

God says this to the Jewish Prophet Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
– Jeremiah 1:4-5

Human life belongs to God, it’s God’s decision to bring a life into the world—so there are no accidents or unwanted humans in God’s mind. Even the things we do against His will, He will use for great good.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb… 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
– Psalm 139:13-16
 

If you were here during Imagine Heaven, you know I studied 1000 people who died, experienced Heaven, and were resuscitated. They describe the heaven of the Bible. Captain Dale Black, Airline Pilot, saw that book of Life where every day was recorded. He said there were 2 dates by his name, he recognized the second one as the date he gave his life to Christ at age 11, but the first wasn’t his birthday—then he realized, the first date was the date of his conception.

If that’s unbearable to think about—know this—God is making everything right again. He has your baby with him, and you will actually be reunited, and there will be great Joy because Jesus died to forgive all our sins and heal all our wounds and make everything new.

Most of us grew up hearing that a fetus was just a lump of tissue—that’s all—like removing a cyst or a wart, but consider what science shows us:

  • We now know, at time of conception, the fetus has 46 chromosomes, the same genetic makeup she will have as an adult is established at conception.
  • Before a woman can figure out she missed her period, a heart is already beating.
  • By seven weeks, the skeleton’s complete, the reflexes and brain activity are all there, you can see the little fingers and toes.
  • By 32 weeks, Psychology Today says, a fetus starts to recognize his mother’s voice and can enjoy the Cat in the Hat.
  • An Obstetrician founded a “Prenatal University”–with a curriculum that starts 4 months before birth.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson founded NARAL and the pro-choice movement, when all this came out as a doctor and a scientist, he realized his mistake, and now calls abortion a crime against humanity.

Both the Dr. who turned public opinion for abortion and Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade are now trying to protect women from making that choice.

Even Peggy Loonan, vocal pro-choice leader says:

“The abortion-rights movement should be honest. Legal abortion kills pre-viable human life. But the rights of a pre-viable human life should not take precedence over the rights of a woman.”
– Peggy Loonan

You have a choice, but choices have consequences.

The reason Abortion causes soul damage because it’s stopping a human life, even abortion-rights advocates admit it.

After conception it will become a person if nothing interferes with nature. This is a spiritual being formed by God and known by God, and something in us knows that regardless of the rhetoric.

Unfortunately, no one talks about the agonizing cost of the choice – what it does not only to destroy life in the womb, but how it also destroys the lives of those who choose it.

We must have compassion!

Evil tries to steal, kill, and destroy, but people are not the enemy.

Here I need to speak to those who might want to cast stones at those who have had abortions.

One woman told me: “The left won’t let you grieve because that would be admitting to ending a life. The right wants you judged and condemned. So you stay stuck and alone. I took a risk after becoming a Christian and told my Christian sister-in-law in hopes of finding healing. They forbid me from ever seeing their children again, and we have not talked for two years.”

That’s not God’s way. Jesus had to die for each one of us—to lead us all to forgiveness, healing and wholeness.

Abortion is not the unforgivable sin, and people are never the enemy.

As Fredrica Matthews-Green says, often “A woman doesn’t choose an abortion like she chooses a car…she chooses like a trapped animal who gnaws off her arm to survive.”

50% of women who had abortions didn’t feel much choice at all.
Boyfriends, even parents pressured them.
One woman told me how her husband physically beat her and threatened divorce and financial ruin if she refused to abort.

Can we be a place of hope and God’s Grace for all people?

Jesus was nailed to that cross to pay our debts so we don’t have to keep on paying over and over and over again with shame, regret, condemnation, guilt, self-hatred which keeps us running from God—the only one who can fix our worst mistakes and use them for good.

Jesus said: “This is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17.

He forgives all our sins, and sets us free from fear of judgment and condemnation:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1

If you have thoughts that crush you with guilt, that tell you how you need to be punished over and over, that anything bad happens to you or that God is punishing you. That’s a lie designed to destroy your life just like the lie designed to destroy your child’s life—and it’s NOT from God. God’s will is not to keep punishing you, plaguing you with guilt, destroying your life—God sets you free from fear of judgment and condemnation when you ask his forgiveness. Sometimes, what’s even harder, is forgiving yourself.

A male friend of mine wrote:

“Even before my girlfriend and I had the abortion, I was already ignoring what I knew to be true. Afterwards, I tried to use the same thought-blocking methods, but it didn’t work. The responsibility was overwhelming and I owned it, but I could not ask for forgiveness. Though I came to trust in what Jesus did to forgive me, I asked for forgiveness for everything BUT the abortion. I couldn’t forgive myself, and it kept me in a superficial relationship with God. One day in prayer, I felt like God slapped me in the face with this truth. Yes, I had sinned and I cannot compensate for that, but who am I to decide who can find forgiveness. The thought rattled me with fear. It occurred to me that I had been repaying his agony on the cross, nullifying all he endured to set me free. That jarring realization was what I needed to forgive myself.”

God wants to rescue you from those condemning voices, set you free as His Child, that’s your identity—Your identity is not what you’ve done, but Whose you are. You’re God’s child and he wants you to find Joy again.

Our True Identity

You see, in Christ, we are no longer defined by our worst moments! He sets us free to have joy again as his children—that’s who we are. What we did does not define us like it used to.

And that is what some of you were. 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.” – 1 Corinthians 6:11

That is what some of us were (past tense). But because of Jesus, God washes us clean, gives us a New Identity His children, in Christ! And We don’t want to do anything against God’s will when we realize this because we can trust God to make good out of the worst situations.

King David—who Jesus calls a prophet of God and “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet at one point, David turned from God and committed adultery with Bathsheba, his neighbor’s wife. He tried to quickly “fix the mistake” “hide the problem” and had Bathsheba’s husband killed so that no one would ever find out. Yet his conscience haunted him. In Psalm 32, David writes:

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long…Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. – Psalm 32:3-5

David found freedom, and joy again, and God used David’s life for great good, even after his horrendous failure. David and Bathsheba’s unplanned pregnancy ended in the baby dying. David grieves, but then he says “Now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again?

I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:23 

“I will go to him. I will see my child one day in Heaven—because of God’s Grace.” One day, all will be made right, all will be restored to the way God intended. You will be reunited with your child, and in God’s light and love, your child will love you and you will love that child.

Start now as God Heals you.

An Interview with Kendra Powers

Kendra is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has helped many people and is doing a workshop for healing from abortion at Gateway South on Sat., Nov 2. 

This is not just clinical for her, but she has her own story of healing.

What can someone expect going through this healing? 

Acknowledge your pain. Pain shows something’s wrong. Admit you need healing. Ask how to heal. Believe.
Not only believe in God, but believe Him, trust Him for healing.
Commit and Confess.
One thing to consider doing would be to write God and your child a letter.

If there’s anything you’ve been running from, hiding from, making you run from the God who loves you, and heals you, listen to the words of this song as God’s words to you, and invite God to begin the Healing journey in your life.

Reflect on the following verses:

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
– Psalm 103:12

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
– Jeremiah 31:3

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain… “Look, I am making everything new!”
– Revelation 21:4-5

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