Healing the Shepherds: How Secret Abortion Loss Can Compromise the Gospel and Hurt Preachers and their Congregations
By David Williams
[An Excerpt from my book Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion]
After preaching at a predominantly
white congregation on the topic of living holy lives and avoiding sexual sins,
I was approached by a middle age white woman with an interesting question. She
asked me why sexual sin is tolerated in the African-American church. I must
admit that I was taken aback by the question for hadn’t I, an African American
man, just preached ‘that there should not
even be a hint of sexual immorality among God’s holy people’?
…She went on to share with me that she had in recent years been involved in relationships with African-American men. Both of them said they were Christians and one of them was a Pastor. She told me that she had to break off both of the relationships because these Christian men were pressuring her to have sex. This was a sad commentary and I was actually a little embarrassed by it.
Sadly, some of us are deeply religious
but unchanged by the transforming power of the resurrected Christ. We must acknowledge
and forgive those who have hurt us, confess our sins and renounce the sinful
lifestyles of previous generations, and most importantly…grieve our losses.
This is especially true for men that have been wounded by abortion and perhaps
other abuse and loss in their lives.
to grieve these losses and the sin that flows from these wounds can be the most
challenging part of the recovery journey.
Men, taught to be strong and
never vulnerable, can struggle with the feelings of weakness, shame and fear
that are part of allowing our grief to surface, and the feelings and memories
that accompany that grief.
But when men find the courage to open up their
hearts and souls allowing their grief and loss to be expressed and honored, we
find liberation in the saving power of Christ.
Healing abortion and other sexual sins and wounds such as abuse, allows
the light of Christ to enter the most intimate places in our hearts and
This open and honest accountability of
our lives lowers the dynamics that can feed acting out behaviors; such as
sexual immorality, extra-marital affairs, addictions and pornography. We are strengthened as men, husbands, and
fathers and as church leaders.
In my speaking ministry, as I share
about my abortion loss and healing, Pastors and ministry lay leaders have
opened up to me about their own shame, pain and guilt from being involved in an
Yet many are reluctant to enter into a
healing program or be public in any way about this secret in their past. They may love the Lord, and truly desire to do
His will; yet their failure to humbly bring this loss to the Lord for
repentance and healing, weakens them personally and in their vocation.
those who are in leadership in African-American churches (and this is not just
an issue in African-American Churches) fail to address these wounds, it not
only affects their own life and family but the lives and families of those that
God has called them to minister to.
If I am living in secrecy and shame regarding
the sins of my past, in particular sexual immorality and abortion, then there
naturally is a tendency not to go there with others, and tragically, to act-out
those unresolved conflicts in my ministry relationships.
I believe that as long as we live with
these secrets, acting as if all is well, then we miss out in experiencing the
healing grace and forgiveness of Christ. I think that this circumvents our
ability to freely and fully minister God’s word to others. The unspoken and at
times, unconscious thought becomes “who
am I to speak up about abortion when I also am guilty and wounded by it.”
This keeps too many silent.
Thus abortion continues to ravage lives
in the African American community and
leave in its wake multitudes of broken women and men who sit in church feeling
guilty, condemned and afraid to confess what they’ve done and seek healing. Abortion at
its core is the killing of an innocent life created in the image of God. I’ve
heard it said that it is an attack against the God who created human life. It is a grievous sin that we often minimize
but yet there are consequences (Galatians 6:7-8).
We need to approach this wound with
great sensitivity, personal humility, and love.
We condemn the sin, but never the wounded and repentant sinner. We offer the merciful love and healing power
of Christ. Not talking about it or
failing to address it won’t change this truth.
This is a false compassion because this silence hurts us all.
I can attest from my own personal
experience that when you open up this area to the grace and healing of Christ,
you will be freed to preach the Gospel of Life and the Gospel of the healing
power of Jesus over abortion wounds. You will have the privilege of being used
by God to lead others to forgiveness, healing and hope. Your ministry will be
empowered and blessed in ways that you could never imagine prior to taking that
Don’t be afraid, take that next step and reach out for the forgiveness and healing you hunger for. God is waiting with open arms and a heart filled with love and mercy for his wounded sheep.
Here’s an original song by Kevin Burke of Rachel’s Vineyard and producer and musician Henry Gennaria about a minister of the Gospel finding the liberating grace of humility and a deeper manifestation of Christ in his life:
[David Williams is an evangelistic speaker to youth, young adults and men as he partners with various ministries, locally and nationally. In his ministry to men, David speaks, writes and connects men affected by abortion to ministries and resources for help and healing. David is a member of MAN (The Men and Abortion Network). To contact David please email him at email@example.com or visit his ministry website www.davidwilliamsspeaks.com]
[Thanks to Francesco Ungaro for the picture at the opening of article.]
Listen to message at David Williams Speaks: http://www.davidwilliamsspeaks.com/#!purityholiness/ccy5
Human Life Alliance. Did you Know? http://www.humanlife.org/files/2014/0967/0687/DYK_WEB.pdf