Kevin Burke, LSW
In 2014 I spent some time with the ministry staff of an abortion recovery program behind the prison walls of Martin Correctional Institution (MCI) in Florida.
Their ministry to men featured a modified version of the Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend and also some exercises from Healing a Father’s Heart bible study. I had a chance to meet with a number of men who have been through the program and are now team leaders ministering to their fellow prisoners.
The inmates I interviewed (many of them lifers for serious crimes) taught me how their abortion story fit into the wider journey of their tumultuous lives. I learned of the central role that father absence and father abuse and rejection played in the development of narcissistic personality traits, and a descent into criminal activity and abortion.
Their abortion loss played an important role in accelerating their self destructive impulsivity that evolved into criminal activity and violence.
This experience continues to resonate with me as I encounter men beyond the prison walls of MCI. While most men do not turn to criminal activity after their abortions, father wounds and abortion have a similar power to deeply disfigure men and corrupt the vocations of marriage and fatherhood. This buried grief, shame and pain can be expressed in anger, impulsive behaviors, sexual immorality, exploitation and abuse of partners…and even criminal activity.
The healing journey of abortion loss for men with father wounds, past abuse, or divorce, opens the door to healing their sense of being “emotionally aborted” in their own childhood. Repentance, and an encounter with their Heavenly Father and His unconditional love for his sons, is a powerful and essential first step. As these men learn to grieve their abortion loss in a healthy way, they are freed as fathers to reconnect in love with their children, both living and deceased.
But this also provides an opportunity for them to encounter the pain of their childhood, and begin the process of healthy grieving and recovery from those wounds.
This month of June, many of us will honor those Fathers that have blessed our lives.
For other men, this may be a time to turn in humility and trust to their Heavenly Father who is calling them to open up some of the darker corners of their lives to the light of Christ. Keep in mind, men without childhood loss or trauma are also deeply wounded by the participation in the death of their unborn children.
Facing this takes humility and courage.
But as men who have made that journey will testify, attending an abortion recovery program will bring abundant blessing to your life and to your loved ones.
Happy Father’s Day