Tomorrow is the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States 43 years ago. There are forecasts of a potential blizzard in Washington D.C., but the 2016 March For Life is still expected to go on as scheduled, as will the other walks and demonstrations planned throughout the country.
On the pro-abortion side of things, you might notice on social media today and tomorrow that women are being encouraged to share– proudly– their stories of abortion. It is said to be an attempt to “lift the stigma” and “free” these women from the “shameful silence” they have been sentenced to because of people against abortion–people like me.
It might be an empowering narrative, the only problem is: It’s not true.
Please understand, I am not saying the stories are untrue, or that these women are in any way lying. Nor am I denying the bravery it takes for any woman, regardless of her beliefs, to come forward and speak about something as personal and difficult as an abortion. I am, however, calling out the “movement” for what it is: It is a lie.
Abortion advocates, I believe I can speak for virtually all of the pro-life movement in saying:
I am not your enemy.
The one who has made you feel shamed into not being able to bring to the light what was probably the hardest decision of your life? That was not me.
But I can relate.
See, I have made decisions in my life that have caused me to feel ashamed and cowered into silence. I have done things I felt might be better hidden or kept in the darkness rather than discussed openly in the light. In those times it has often seemed easier for me to blame others for my feelings of guilt and shame (“Society” has deemed this behavior “bad.” It’s just my “Catholic guilt,” etc.) than to acknowledge that these things were, in fact, mistakes that hurt me.
The truth is that the desire to hide in the darkness of shame comes not usually from other people, but from the real Enemy, the one who comes only to kill and destroy. Satan wants nothing more than for us to feel ashamed, to hide, and to be kept in silence by those sorts feelings.
So abortion advocates: Do you want to talk about your abortion? Please, let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it with honesty and compassion, without name-calling or condemnation.
The truth is that this is what the pro-life movement has been after all along. Bring it to the light. Let’s be honest with women about what abortion actually looks like, about what the stages of development of life in the womb looks like. Be honest that abortion stops a heart from beating, and terminates the development of a unique life never to be repeated again. Perhaps most important of all, let’s be honest about the emotional pain an abortion so often brings with it. Be honest that abortion so very often ends up hurting tremendously the very women it claims to help.
The truth is that calling something bad good will not make it so, no matter how much we try. Uploading a video or tweeting 140 characters may bring with it a brief feeling of empowerment and pride, but if we are honest with ourselves, that gnawing emptiness will come again in the silence of the night and we will be faced with the grim reality of the lie we have been sold:
Bad is not good. False is not true. Darkness is not light.
The Enemy wants you to stay in the darkness that says that bad can be good; to stay in that darkness that says the antidote to shame is pride. But the antidote to shame is humility and truth. The antidote to shame is Jesus. He is the only one who can truly free us from our shame and cleanse us of our guilt–not through vain tweets or social media campaigns, but through real healing that lasts.
All we have to do is take that grace-filled first step, out of darkness and into the light.
Jesus, We Trust In You!