Healing the Shepherds: How Secret Abortion Loss Can Compromise the Gospel and Hurt Preachers and their Congregations

Healing the Shepherds: How Secret Abortion Loss Can Compromise the Gospel and Hurt Preachers and their Congregations

By David Williams

[An Excerpt from my book Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion – Kevin Burke]

After preaching at a predominantly white congregation on the topic of living holy lives and avoiding sexual sins[1], I was approached by a middle age white woman with an interesting question. She asked me why sexual sin is tolerated in the African-American church. I must admit that I was taken aback by the question for hadn’t I, an African American man, just preached ‘that there should not even be a hint of sexual immorality among God’s holy people’?

…She went on to share with me that she had in recent years been involved in relationships with African-American men. Both of them said they were Christians and one of them was a Pastor.  She told me that she had to break off both of the relationships because these Christian men were pressuring her to have sex. This was a sad commentary and I was actually a little embarrassed by it.  

Sadly, some of us are deeply religious but unchanged by the transforming power of the resurrected Christ. We must acknowledge and forgive those who have hurt us, confess our sins and renounce the sinful lifestyles of previous generations, and most importantly…grieve our losses. This is especially true for men that have been wounded by abortion and perhaps other abuse and loss in their lives.

 Learning to grieve these losses and the sin that flows from these wounds can be the most challenging part of the recovery journey.   Men, taught to be strong and never vulnerable, can struggle with the feelings of weakness, shame and fear that are part of allowing our grief to surface, and the feelings and memories that accompany that grief.

 But when men find the courage to open up their hearts and souls allowing their grief and loss to be expressed and honored, we find liberation in the saving power of Christ.  Healing abortion and other sexual sins and wounds such as abuse, allows the light of Christ to enter the most intimate places in our hearts and souls.  

This open and honest accountability of our lives lowers the dynamics that can feed acting out behaviors; such as sexual immorality, extra-marital affairs, addictions and pornography.   We are strengthened as men, husbands, and fathers and as church leaders. 

In my speaking ministry, as I share about my abortion loss and healing, Pastors and ministry lay leaders have opened up to me about their own shame, pain and guilt from being involved in an abortion decision.

Yet many are reluctant to enter into a healing program or be public in any way about this secret in their past.  They may love the Lord, and truly desire to do His will; yet their failure to humbly bring this loss to the Lord for repentance and healing, weakens them personally and in their vocation.

 When those who are in leadership in African-American churches (and this is not just an issue in African-American Churches) fail to address these wounds, it not only affects their own life and family but the lives and families of those that God has called them to minister to. 

 If I am living in secrecy and shame regarding the sins of my past, in particular sexual immorality and abortion, then there naturally is a tendency not to go there with others, and tragically, to act-out those unresolved conflicts in my ministry relationships.

I believe that as long as we live with these secrets, acting as if all is well, then we miss out in experiencing the healing grace and forgiveness of Christ. I think that this circumvents our ability to freely and fully minister God’s word to others. The unspoken and at times, unconscious thought becomes “who am I to speak up about abortion when I also am guilty and wounded by it.”

This keeps too many silent.

Thus abortion continues to ravage lives in the African American community [2]and leave in its wake multitudes of broken women and men who sit in church feeling guilty, condemned and afraid to confess what they’ve done and seek healing.  Abortion at its core is the killing of an innocent life created in the image of God. I’ve heard it said that it is an attack against the God who created human life.  It is a grievous sin that we often minimize but yet there are consequences (Galatians 6:7-8).   

We need to approach this wound with great sensitivity, personal humility, and love.  We condemn the sin, but never the wounded and repentant sinner.  We offer the merciful love and healing power of Christ.  Not talking about it or failing to address it won’t change this truth.  This is a false compassion because this silence hurts us all.

I can attest from my own personal experience that when you open up this area to the grace and healing of Christ, you will be freed to preach the Gospel of Life and the Gospel of the healing power of Jesus over abortion wounds. You will have the privilege of being used by God to lead others to forgiveness, healing and hope. Your ministry will be empowered and blessed in ways that you could never imagine prior to taking that step.

 Don’t be afraid, take that next step and reach out for the forgiveness and healing you hunger for.  God is waiting with open arms and a heart filled with love and mercy for his wounded sheep. 

Here’s an original song by Kevin Burke of Rachel’s Vineyard and producer and musician Henry Gennaria about a minister of the Gospel finding the liberating grace of humility and a deeper manifestation of Christ in his life:

[David Williams is an evangelistic speaker to youth, young adults and men as he partners with various ministries, locally and nationally. In his ministry to men, David speaks, writes and connects men affected by abortion to ministries and resources for help and healing. David is a member of MAN (The Men and Abortion Network). To contact David please email him at davidwilliamsspeaks@gmail.com  or visit his ministry website www.davidwilliamsspeaks.com]

[Thanks to Francesco Ungaro for the picture at the opening of article.]


[1] Listen to message at David Williams Speaks: http://www.davidwilliamsspeaks.com/#!purityholiness/ccy5

[2] Human Life Alliance.  Did you Know?  http://www.humanlife.org/files/2014/0967/0687/DYK_WEB.pdf


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