Another Great Post…

…’cause I didn’t write it. 

Yes, here’s another sample of godly wisdom from the folks over at the Pyromaniacs blog. They wrote an excellent piece about a topic I’ve been thinking of lately and, rather than drag you, dear readers, through the confusing muck that is my mind right now, I thought it best that I quote Dan Phillips’ piece in its entirety. He says it better than I can. 

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Abortion, psychobabble, and the Gospel

by Dan Phillips

I haven’t read this book about “silent sufferers of abortion” (the women, not the children) and, on the strength of the writeup, am unlikely to. The writeup is titled “Encouragement to Embrace and Empower Silent Sufferers of Abortion.” It is about women who have had abortions, and their spiritual problems. Among many other things, it says the book touts their “need to forgive themselves and realize that they are not alone….” The book will also explain (we are told)

  • Why even pro-life women feel forced into abortions
  • Why Christians should have compassion for those suffering from past abortions

Three thoughts push themselves forward:

First, fault me if you like, but I have deep care and regard for women who have repented after an abortion. I have in mind unbelievers who come to Christ, and look back on that sin, and see it for what it is. Equally, I think of ill-taught Christian women, who had been misled into thinking that aborting an inconvenient or imperfect child is a moral option, and then have come to grips with what the Bible teaches regarding abortion.

Some may barbecue me for this, but do you know how easy it is for a woman to rationalize this act, today? It takes clear-eyed moral courage to look at this act as God would, to shun the myriad of seductive rationalizations our lost culture (— and, God help us, some “evangelicals”) offer, and to take responsibility for this sin as sin. I find myself at a loss to describe what I imagine that process must be like, emotionally and mentally — going from rationalization to realization, to repentance.

Second, I affirm with all my heart that there is absolute and full and free forgiveness in Jesus Christ for all women who have had, and have repented of, an abortion. I cannot imagine that I have forgiveness myself for my countless sins, but some other category of repentant sinner is denied forgiveness. After all, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and his blood secures redemption and forgiveness from sin (Ephesians 1:7), and His death wipes all repentant, believing sinners’ slates absolutely clean (Colossians 2:13-15). Sin is sin is sin.

My sins deserved an eternity in Hell. My autonomy, my rebellion, my arrogance, my disbelief, my blasphemy, my idolatry, and the innumerable sins I committed in my mind and affections and imagination… All of them merited nothing but the raging hot wrath of God. None of them was excusable. None of them was someone else’s fault. Every one of them was mine.

And Christ died to redeem me from every one of them.

Each sin is unique, and each sin is the same. Fatuous self-absorption is sin, no less than abortion nor any other. I think asking whether {Sin X} “can be forgiven” is less useful than asking whether sin can be forgiven. In that case, the Christian answer must be an unhesitating “Yes.” Period.

HSAT:

My third thought is that I am extremely uncomfortable with the language of this article. My need, as a sinner, is never “to forgive myself.” I am not the offended party in my sin, ever! The offended party is God, in any and every sin. It is His forgiveness I need; and I need the forgiveness of any human being I have wronged. But my forgiveness…? I think the very question puts me right back where sin started me: usurping the place of God. Speaking of the need for me to seek and find my own forgiveness for my sin puts me where God alone belongs.

Now, doubtless what people mean when they speak thus is often that I need to receive, accept, believe God’s forgiveness. With that, I agree. But say so. Say that. Don’t psychobabble.

Further, I’m uncomfortable with the “here’s why {anyone} sinned, so feel compassion” line, as if a rationale for sin enables pity for the sinner.

Let me explain why, by shifting the discussion. I’m sure many readers are thinking, “How convenient for you, Phillips. How easy! You know you’re not even biologically capable of being in this situation, so what a tidy, safe little target it makes for you.” Understood.

So, suppose instead of a woman having an abortion, we were talking aboutadultery. No, I haven’t done, and the very notion is a moral horror to me — but (unlike abortion) I am biologically capable. Can we use adultery, then?

So, we’re talking about a man who has committed adultery. Should he forgive himself for it? Are you interested in a discussion ofwhy he did it, so you can feel more compassion for him? Do you want to hear about how cold, distant, and disrespectful his wife was? Do you want to hear about how she shamed him publicly, and shunned him privately? Do you want to hear about our society, the pressure it puts on men, the allurements to infidelity, and so on?

No, I’m sure you don’t. I don’t, either! In fact, I’d bet cash money that the percentage of readers ready to sympathize with Sinner A dropped dramatically when I shifted to Sinner B.

But why? Is sin sin, or is it not? Are some sins special sins?

Now, let me be up-front as to why I belabor this.

First and briefest, this topic cries out for moral clarity.

Second, I am concerned whenever any sin is made more attractive by being made less repellent.

But third, I am concerned for the women themselves. The road of psychobabble and amelioration (“Sure-I-sinned-but…”) is never the road toreal healing and restoration.

Get this and get it good: rationalizations can’t be forgiven. Mistakes can’t be forgiven. Regrettable-but-understandable choices can’t be forgiven.

But SIN can be forgiven through Christ, and is forgiven through Christ.

So what makes a sin a sin? What are the characteristics of sin?

  • Sin is primarily committed against God
  • Sin is always inexcusable
  • Sin is always ugly
  • Sin is always unnecessary
  • Sin is so always so wasting and devastating and repellent to God that only the death of the Son of God could deal with it fully and finally

So you see, anything that dulls or pretties up any of those factors tends to un-sin sin; and if it isn’t really sin, then it can’t really be forgiven — and a sinner can’t really be freed.

The paths of rationalization or amelioration are not the paths of real healing — for any sinner. By trying to improve on the Gospel, we end up doing actual disservice to sinners.

The book (we’re told) is concerned with relief for the guilt of women who have had an abortion. Should they feel guilty? I would re-word the question: should a sinner feel guilty?

Yes. And that guilt should drive him to the Cross of Jesus Christ, where his or her guilt will find its one and only real, full, sufficient, objective, subjective, everlasting solution.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

AFTERWORD: I’ll add one last thought to an already-too-long post. To whatever degree the author’s concern is born of any Christian tendency to treat repentant women who’ve had an abortion as if they’re a special class of unclean pariah — I would share that concern. No redeemed sinner has the right to treat any other repentant, redeemed sinner with condescending, condemning disdain, as if your sin is more disgusting than my sin.

But that is perhaps a thought for another post.

 

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