(As I dive a little deeper into the story I want it to be known that the friend I am talking about is not a part of any of our circles of friends, but is a friend of a friend. I would not write so openly about a person in our circle of friends until long after the situation had passed and only then with permission. The reason I’m choosing to write openly about this is because I think we have much to learn in how we respond to things we disagree with as followers of Jesus. For the sake of blogging I’m going to call her Samantha and will say she is from Egypt.) Yesterday I opened a window for you to see into Samantha's life. Can you imagine going from a middle class family living to being so poor you had to live with your aunt because your parents couldn't afford to take care of you? Then to have your aunt betray you by giving you to an older man? Samantha was raised as a Christian in her home country of Egypt and her family regularly attended church here in the US. What would these circumstances do to your faith? I can imagine the only thing holding Samantha up at this point is the day her father and mother come to get her. I can see her crying and lonely on her bed at night, praying God would bring her parents back to her.
That day did come, but unfortunately it didn't turn out the way Samantha had hoped. Being the good Christians they were, who took the Bible literally, they forced Samantha to marry the man because she had been sleeping with him (Deut 22:28-29). Once again, at what point is it okay for a follower of Jesus to say, "WTH!?!" Could you imagine the sense of betrayal by her father in he name of The Father? Samantha was married to him for three years and gave birth to a child, which she now struggles to provide food, clothes, and shelter. She divorced the man a few years ago and in the last 3 months she has moved five times.
I tell you this for two reasons. First, because as followers of Jesus we must realize that life about more than personal sins. Yes, Samantha sinned against God by having an abortion. But this decision was made in the midst of a life in hell. How can she trust? How can she hope? How can she imagine bringing another child into this crazy messed up world? And (as I am realizing while writing this right now) how could she give her child away like her parents did? Yes, Samantha needs Jesus' forgiveness but more so she needs a right view of who He is, and she needs hope for a better future! How else can her sense of trust be restored?
My second reason for writing this is to ask you to pray and think of how you might show Samantha the love of Jesus. Do you know someone who has had an abortion? How did you respond? Did you go immediately go the sin and forgiveness route? Do you need to go back and understand why she may have felt that was the only option? Some people need physical, emotional, or even social healing before they can understand sin and their need for forgiveness.
Remember the Gospel is a message of love wrapped in verbs and deeds.
Other posts in this series: