This is the testimony I gave at my church Easter Sunday, 2012.
I wish I was here to tell you a humorous story, or about an upcoming event, but I am not.
Justin has helped me work through a major issue in my life, and I am here to share where I was spiritually before, and how I got to where I am today.
For many years I felt so very lost, and I was totally unable to accept God's forgiveness. A few months ago I set up a meeting with Justin at the request of my wife, and told him what I had done, and how I had a real fear of my judgment day. Although I have been going to church and trying to make improvements in my life, the guilt and shame were holding me back from the life in Christ I so longed for. I heard about Christ's sacrifice for my sins every week, but could not accept it. I felt as though that was enough for my other sins, but I had to go on punishing myself for one of them.
You see, about thirty years ago my first wife aborted our child. She had always said she did not want kids, and was on birth control. When she found out she was pregnant she absolutely lost it. She was crying so hard she was having trouble catching her breath. In an effort to help I told her I would support her, whatever she decided, words I would long regret. The next day her best friend took her to Planned Parenthood, and she came home scheduled for an abortion in Minneapolis. I don’t remember if was two or three days later, but very quick. Even when it was just scheduled I began to feel very sick, but there was no talking to her about it. We did not have the $250.00 dollars for the abortion, so I borrowed it from a co-worker. The day her friend took her I was at work, knowing this was so very, very wrong, and that the pain was just beginning.
What had been just an OK marriage soon became completely awful. It did not seem that she shared in my guilt and pain, let alone the feeling I had of total separation from God.
We hung on for a few miserable years and then divorced. I moved to California and let guilt, shame, and sin run my life for a couple years before I moved back here to try to put my life back together. I shut out what we had done for many years and tried to move on, but when I began going to church again my past started to haunt me. I felt like I didn’t belong there with all those good people after what I had done. I was totally swallowed up by the sin I was holding onto, and was often bitter and angry.
About five years ago I got involved in the pro-life movement, and while some small strides have been made, the tragedy of abortion remains because a segment of society will fight to keep it legal and available throughout our land. It is a scourge on our society that hurts all those involved and kills one third of God’s children. I keep this in mind when I go to the polls, and make sure my candidate is pro-life. Through one of the pro-life groups I heard about a program called “Healing a Father’s Heart,” a post-abortion Bible study for men. I started the program back then with help from Apple Pregnancy Care Center, but never finished it. When I explained all this to Justin he asked if I would like him to help me finish what I had started back then. He has been very supportive through all the tears and horrible memories that had to be faced and dealt with.
The program is scripture based with countless hours in study of God’s word to make you understand that we all have sinned, all have fallen away, and can all still be saved through the love of God and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. It helped me deal with the anger, learn to forgive, and to accept God's forgiveness so that I can be assured of eternal life in Christ.
It took a lot to get me back onto the right track, and little of the journey was easy. I had to take a good look at what my life was really like back then. I had to accept what I had done, evaluate how deep my involvement really was, who my child was, the things I had missed out on, consider the things I wish I could say to her, and where she is now. I also had to forgive as God forgives, and I learned how hard that can be. I had to truly forgive my ex-wife, Planned Parenthood, a group of activist judges, and the whole culture that has brought us abortion. Only then could I begin to understand the depth of God’s compassion, and that Christ's sacrifice was all that was required to cover my sins, all of them, the abortion included.
Hebrews 9: 14 tells us: How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.
And in 1st John 1: 9 we read: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I will continue to be involved in the pro-life movement, but can now do so without all the anger. When it comes to the pro-life and pro-choice issue I have heard preachers say “here is your choice: Heaven or hell“, for so very long I thought I had made my choice.
Now I am saved and I belong to God, thanks be to the Father, and to our risen Lord.
I wanted to share this with you because others may be struggling with forgiveness also, I know it can be hard to accept, as our sins can seem so huge to us, but nothing is too big for God, and He promises us over and over in scripture that He will forgive us and remember our sins no more. If you are overwhelmed by sin in your life as I was, consider what I have had to face. We can all find forgiveness in Christ, but often we must seek it out, and we may need help to accept it.
We have a wonderful resource here at Cornerstone in the Carters. Renee was very supportive in giving of her husband’s time, and I’m sure she joined him in prayer for my healing and my acceptance of God’s grace.
I stand here today a new man in Christ, and my wife can attest that finding God’s grace is making wonderful changes in my life. I wish I could have accepted forgiveness years ago, but I’m very, very happy I have accepted it now. If you are struggling I hope you find your forgiveness very soon, as your life will change. Please, start today.