Whenever I run across “Patty,” I feel uplifted. With her radiant smile and gentle spirit, you would never know she once suffered from deep depression, anger and self-contempt.
The day Patty released a pink balloon to the sky as part a memorial to the child she lost to abortion, her heart soared to a new place.
She was a new woman, freed from guilt and shame.
Question: when I met with Patty for post-abortion recovery sessions, was my goal to help her feel better?
My goal was to help her encounter Christ right where she wanted to hide the most.
I knew that Patty would, indeed, feel better once she did her difficult emotional work and reached a breakthrough. But here’s the thing:
There’s a universe of difference between the people-helping approach used by post-modern psychology and that used by biblical counseling.
Humanistic psychology just aims to help people feel better.
Jesus wants to transform them.
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You see, our feelings can lie—which means we can feel better without becoming better.
You can claim that abortion is not wrong, and maybe you’ll enable a post-abortive woman to feel better.
But coming face to face with the mercy of Christ, and having her issues dealt with at the root? Well. That’s a whole different story.
Once a woman has faced the true nature of what she has done, has received God’s forgiveness and then has forgiven herself, everything changes.
Yes, she feels better—but so much more.
She is now empowered to “go and sin no more.” She can live differently in light of God’s steadfast love and astounding grace.
She has a story of hope to share with others.
Contrast this with the woman who shouts out that her past abortion is a good thing.
The proud defiance, the grisly humor, the utter lack of compassion for preborn children evident in recent ads and slogans pushed by abortion advocates is nothing short of nauseating.
How can a woman laud the willful destruction of her own child?
She can only do it because her conscience is malfunctioning.
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The human conscience is a fascinating, unique part of us as God’s image-bearers. Here are some Bible-based truths about the conscience:
1. The human conscience works in tandem with the Holy Spirit to help us obey God, much to our benefit and His glory (Romans 1:9).
2. A pure heart, a sincere faith and a good conscience go together. If your heart is pure and your faith is sincere, your conscience is good, too (1 Timothy 1:5).
3. It is our responsibility to maintain a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3:9).
4. Rejecting a good conscience ultimately means wrecking your faith (1 Timothy 1:19).
5. If we do not develop the conscience, listen to the Holy Spirit through it, and keep it clear, the conscience can become seared (1 Timothy 4:2).
When I was a young teen, my chores involved plenty of ironing. One day, I accidentally tipped the iron over and it slid across my forearm.
Shocked by pain, I jerked away as quickly as I could, but the incident marked me with a wide, brown scar which lasted for years.
Imagine if the nerves in my arm had been dead that day.
Let’s say I’m looking at the pile of laundry still in the basket, thinking about how long the task might take and what I want to do later.
I don’t feel the weight of the iron hit my arm. I don’t feel its searing heat begin to burn through skin and flesh.
By the time I notice what’s happening, my arm is permanently damaged beyond repair.
Nerves are designed to send instant signals of pain to the brain, saving the rest of the body from damage and destruction.
Feelings of pain aren’t pleasant, but they spare us from something much worse.
The conscience is to the soul what nerves are to the body.
When it works properly, the conscience gives us a quick, vital pain message when we need to adjust our moral course.
When it’s broken, we’re in danger of disaster.
That’s why it’s not okay to tell women that abortion is acceptable. That’s why it’s cruel to simply put a Band-Aid on post abortion trauma.
A woman’s feelings of guilt about abortion inform her of something important. If she’s considering it, a working conscience will warn her not to go through with it.
If she’s already had an abortion, a working conscience will signal the need for God’s forgiveness.
Her conscience will send a message that feels painful at the time.
The answer to her pain is not to deaden the nerves of her soul, but to use it to introduce her to the only source of real healing—Jesus, who loves her right where she is.
The apostle Paul writes to his protégé Timothy about those “whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4:2).
This is the condition of our culture’s collective conscience. Seared. Burned beyond recognition. Useless.
That’s why you must keep telling the truth about abortion. That’s why you must continue holding out the hope found in Christ.
Never mind that those with destroyed consciences mock and vilify you for your work of compassion. Think of all the Pattys who will find peace and freedom by knowing the truth.
Your love comes from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith.
For those wounded by abortion, for the innocent preborn, and for Jesus, keep up the good work.