“Pause…and listen” That was the advice we were given today on our radio show. We were talking with Maureen Yockey, Executive Director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center here in Denver, an organization that helps women facing unplanned pregnancy. Maureen, who incidentally is my friend’s mother, shared her own story of how her life was affected by abortion when her best friend’s younger sister committed suicide after having an abortion. Deeply concerned for her grieving friend, Maureen decided to get involved in the pro-life movement on a more intimate level.
You see, when the younger sister, a pregnant college student hiding her secret, had gone to her older sister to ask her what her thoughts were on abortion, her sister spoke very true words, like that it was “killing, murder, sin, wrong, etc”. Her approach, however, left much to be desired. Two weeks later the younger sister was found in her running car in the garage.
It’s not that the older sister should not have shared the truth. Abortion is indeed killing. Maureen’s point is that, unfortunately since the government has legalized this type of killing, telling people not to do it simply causes them to become defensive…because it’s their right. What the government is doing deciding what is moral or not is another issue…Anyway, Maureen’s approach is not to project shame, EVER, but to first pause and then listen to the person’s story, knowing she can’t make them do anything. Hear their heart. Then educate them on the alternatives to abortion…or counsel them after…because abortion hurts women.
She shared the story of one high school star athlete who got pregnant. Her family was a ‘church-going’ family. Her mom told her she needed to get an abortion. Her track coach ponied up the money for the abortion. The girl started searching the web and found APC. She headed in for an appointment where she learned about the alternatives to abortion. The girl made her own decision, not through influence or pressure from APC, that is not their style or approach, but from simply being given the opportunity to learn. She decided to have the baby.
As you might imagine, our U-Stream chat was pretty active during this particular show due to the topic. There were comments such as:
- People who have abortions should have a 3 strike rule: 3 abortions and you are out…then there should be required sterilization.
- Homicide is murder but I don’t think I’d sit and listen to why a person was considering it.
- Suicide is murder, just like homicide and abortion. It’s all sin.
- The church needs to do a better job educating people before unplanned pregnancies occur, but also be a safe place for healing when women have gone through abortion.
There were more but I don’t remember them all. I wish everyone listening today could have joined Gina Johnson, my co-host, and I during the commercial break. Gina was saying how it was neat that even though the star athlete was being pressured and told by her mother and coach, two obviously influential adults in her life, to terminate her pregnancy, the girl took ownership of her pregnancy and her choice. No matter the decision, she took ownership.
I think that is a key element when talking about sin of any kind. We can pressure others, or feel pressured by others, to do things we don’t necessarily want to do. But, ultimately, our choices are between us and God. We each have to live with our choices. We each need to take responsibility for our actions and not blame the next guy. I understand many of the ‘loopholes’ when it comes to sex. There are horrible situations like rape and abuse. There are victims in those scenarios. But when two people have consensual sex, the one must stop blaming the other. There are a lot of moms and dads out there that blame the boyfriend who knocked up there daughter…we all need to own our choices and at the same time know that God is bigger. He does forgive us. He loves us and offers us healing from sin.
He does. He forgives us of our sins. God says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and forgives us. He’s not a liar. God does not lie. He really does offer us healing and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ. That was the whole point of His death on the cross. That’s another post for another day. Anyway, the ‘church’, and by ‘church’ I don’t mean every person who calls themselves a Christian, but the institution, has not done a good job of offering hope, healing and safety to women who have had abortions or those with unplanned pregnancies. We have been quick to point out the obvious…getting pregnant outside of marriage isn’t God’s plan…and not quick to pause and listen. Not quick to stop and pray. Quick to not point fingers but to realize we are all fallen people in a fallen world and our God is GIGANTIC and He truly is capable and willing to love us in spite of us.
Our time with Maureen was encouraging and inspiring. We managed to stay in a healthy place during our interview, not allowing fiery opinions or judgmental statements on either side of the spectrum dominate the conversation, but instead hearing one woman’s perspective of how “pausing and listening” has been a tool for healing in the lives of many women. I hope you’ll tune into our archived show to hear how it went. Chances are, we will all know someone who has either gone through the difficult decision of abortion or will one day consider it. How will we respond? If we study the life of Jesus Christ and the way He lived while here on earth, we will gain a great picture of how we are expected to respond…in love.