“I could never tell my kids about my abortion.”
This is a statement I’ve heard many times over the years. Why are parents (and grandparents) so reluctant to share their past mistakes with their children or grandchildren? The obvious answer is shame. Parents fear that if they bring the truth about their past mistakes into the light, they will be viewed as hypocrites. Or, and even more adverse reaction to their vulnerability and transparency: They fear their children will judge and reject them.
These fears may have some truth to them, but you have a choice. You can either let the fear of shame and rejection from family members be the end of your story, and you take those fears to your grave. Or, you can conquer your fears and take the long – and more impactful view. Your mistakes can have a redemptive thread and even be a lifeline for your progeny.
I recently spoke with a middle school girl, and our conversation took my breath away. She had stopped by our Deeper Still booth at a ministry fair. I asked her if she knew what abortion was. She said “yes,” and began to tell me a heart-rending story. Her best friend’s mother had shared with her that when she was pregnant with her daughter, she almost aborted her. This middle-schooler looked me in the eyes, with tears in her eyes, and said, “I can’t imagine my life without my best friend.” That simple but poignant testimony that her best friend’s mom was willing to share forever impacted this young girl’s heart and mind. She understands the value of every human life and the irreplaceable gift of her best friend. I’m so thankful for that mom. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to confess to her daughter or her daughter’s friend. But praise God she did!
What is the purpose of a testimony, anyway? Isn’t it to give warning and encouragement for others to not make the same mistakes? The Bible is full of testimonies of people’s mistakes and sins and the grave consequences that can follow. The Bible records these stories so that millennia later we can “take heed” and not fall into those same snares. The Bible also teaches us that through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross, the fullness of forgiveness and redemption are just one heartfelt prayer away.
Let’s look at the story of Peter. He was the Lord’s friend and chief disciple. But in his weakness, he denied the Lord, who he had spent the previous three years with engaged in powerful Kingdom exploits. Peter surely battled shame as the accuser heaped condemnation on him, hoping he would disappear into the shadows never to be heard from again. But Peter had the humility and courage to receive the same grace and forgiveness that’s offered to us today. Imagine if he had withered away in self-doubt; we would never have the great teachings and the accounts of such a critical apostle. He allowed his mistakes to be a real-life testimony for us today.
If you’re a parent who’s had an abortion in your past, don’t hide your secrets from your children, hoping they will come to godly views about abortion on their own. Be willing to share your past mistakes and allow them to hear firsthand how abortion has damaged your heart. Let them learn from your mistakes and be spared the same devastation and heartache. You can literally save lives by being open about your story and how God redeemed and restored your life. Even if you’re still in the process, let them see and learn from the process.
In God’s Kingdom, it’s not about living to protect ourselves and our reputation. It’s about living for the salvation of the next generation.
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