|Our back yard|
Thirty-five years ago X, a young girl in our campus ministry at Michigan State University, called Linda and said, "I want to meet with you and John. I have something I need to share."
"Yes, we would love to meet with you."
So we set the meeting time and date.
She said, "I can't do this at this time."
X called again. We set a time to meet. X cancelled.
Finally, we were able met with X. It took over an hour for her to get the courage to say, "A few years ago I had an abortion."
She wept as she shared this. For a long time. Why?
Why did X weep?
"Because I took the life of my child. She would now be two years old. I think of her all the time."
Was X a murderer? Here's the definition of "murder" from Cornell University Law School.
"Murder occurs when one human being unlawfully kills another human being.
Was X guilty of "intent-to-kill" murder, as well as "depraved heart murder?"
She thought she was.
She believed that her child was inside her body. X not only left her child unprotected, but gave a doctor permission to assault her.
X believed the aborted life form was her child. That is why she wept. This is why many weep today.
"It is the duty of each individual and of society operating through its laws to provide protection for each member of the society. This follows the basic homicide laws of the common law that society protects a member from assault and death. The protection shall extend from the beginning of each human being's life - acknowledged to be when the father's sperm fertilizes the mother's ovum - and throughout the natural continuum of that human being's life." (From here.)
If abortion is not homicide, then what's the big deal about it? Why cry over it? For X this was a big deal. She gave a doctor permission to end the life of her child.
When X called us she had become a Jesus-follower. We told X there is no sin that God cannot and will not forgive. X knew this in her mind. We prayed that this truth would descend into her heart. It did. It has for me, too.
Before I became a Jesus-follower, I made choices and engaged in things I came to deeply regret. How, I wondered, could I ever break free from a conscience that condemned me? The answer..., the only answer I know of..., is in the gracious, merciful forgiveness of God. Without this we are all screwed.
For X, our meeting was a great encounter with the love of Christ that covers all our sin. Note the word "our."
Here we find a love that is so high, deep, wide, and long that its arms extend even to embrace murderers.
Here was our Pauline prayer for X.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Watch this to see another murderer experience forgiveness - Forgiveness is a Beautiful Thing.)
My two books are:
Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God
Leading the Presence-Driven Church
I am working on:
How God Changes the Human Heart
Technology and Spiritual Formation
Then, the Lord willing, Linda and I intend to write our book on Relationships.