It’s our human inclination to hold a grudge…keeping it tightly guarded so that at the appropriate time, we can brandish it as a reminder to all parties of how badly we’ve been hurt. Let’s face it: it’s much easier to keep a tight grip on our unforgiveness than it is to cede our “right” to be offended.
If you’ve had an abortion, then you may be grappling with the burden of unforgiveness in your own life. I know this is true because at Human Coalition, we’ve heard from countless post-abortive individuals who call our contact center, visit one of our participating life-affirming pregnancy centers, or meet with caregivers at one of our five women’s care clinics.
These are women and men who carry the burden of guilt and pain from an abortion. Amazingly, many clients who visit one of our women’s care clinics have also watched sisters, mothers, and aunts abort their family members. Every aborted life leaves a family tree with a gaping hole, and the subsequent pain often descends through multiple generations.
The caregivers at our women’s care clinics meet regularly with men and women who suffer from post-abortion trauma. Whether they were pressured by their parents or their partner to abort (which is true for roughly 70 percent of the clients we’ve talked to), they now live with the shame, grief, and regret of having ended their child’s life. And these negative emotions are further compounded by the hurt and betrayal they feel toward whomever imposed the abortion decision upon them.
At Human Coalition, many of our staff members are post-abortive. And one common theme runs among them all: the driving need for forgiveness—not only of themselves, but also the people who were complicit in their abortion.
If you’ve journeyed with Human Coalition for any length of time, then you’ve most likely been introduced to Jeff Bradford, Vice President of Development. He and his wife Tricia aborted their child over 20 years ago, just three months before their wedding day. For almost two decades, they discussed neither their child, nor what happened that day. But like any traumatic event, it still percolated beneath the surface and eventually erupted, nearly tearing their marriage apart.
After much professional counseling and by the grace of God, Jeff and Tricia were finally able to forgive and be forgiven for the abortion of their daughter Sarah. But they will be the first to admit that forgiveness did not come easily. While they’ve gone on to have four beautiful children who are their joy and delight, someone will always be missing from their family.
I came across this quote recently, and I think it perfectly illustrates the reality of forgiving those who’ve offended us:
Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. —Marianne WilliamsonForgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. —Marianne Williamson Click To Tweet
It’s true. If you want to find peace in the midst of your post-abortion trauma; if you want to heal relationships that were severed by a past abortion; if you want to help strengthen marriages, churches, and communities that are wrought with the scourge of abortion, then you must take the first step toward forgiveness.
So what does that look like? Obviously, it isn’t something that comes easily, as Jeff and Tricia can testify. But here are a few practical steps you can take toward making forgiveness a reality in your life:
- Seek out a life-affirming pregnancy center that offers post-abortion counseling. At the three women’s care clinics owned and operated by Human Coalition, we offer post-abortion peer counseling, which is part of the holistic care we provide to women and men to help them overcome the aftermath of abortion.
- Call on your church to begin a post-abortion ministry. It’s estimated that between 25 percent and 33 percent of the women in our churches are post-abortive. Due to the shame and stigma associated with abortion, these congregants secretly carry their grief, which prevents them from enjoying true fellowship with God and other Christians. The Church is key to ending abortion in America, and it begins by providing for those who struggle in the shadow of a past abortion.
- Visit AbortionMemorial.com and share your story with others, or post a memorial to your child. This site, created by Human Coalition, is a safe place to acknowledge your post-abortive pain and begin taking the first steps toward healing.
- Volunteer, Give, and Pray. Human Coalition is committed to helping those who struggle with post-abortion trauma. Through our women’s care clinics in Grapevine, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh, as well as our participating life-affirming pregnancy centers across the nation, we desire to walk with post-abortive men and women, and guide them to a place of healing and forgiveness.
On June 26, begin the conversation that leads to forgiveness. Share this article with someone who needs to hear the words, “You are forgiven.” And then visit HumanCoalition.org/get-involved/ to discover how you can take the next steps to ensure that future generations never have to struggle through the pain of post-abortion trauma.