"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."1
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "Do you have any information on what effect having an abortion in one's youth can have on one's life as an adult? I understand that it can have far-reaching effects. Is it possible for healing?"
Perhaps one who has had an abortion could best answer this question, so all I can do is share my observations and what I think. At one retreat I attended, a non-Christian, rather loose-living, non-religious woman shared with our group how she had had two abortions and didn't know if she even loved the two children she now had. As she shared with us, she sobbed her heart out. Her past actions were certainly having far-reaching effects in her life. As I understand it, she, like many others who have had abortions, do suffer with long-term grief and guilt, unless, like for any other sin, they seek and find God's forgiveness and healing. If they fail to resolve their guilt and grief, it will have a negative effect on their present as well as their future close relationships.
To be freed from guilt, whatever one's sins may be, it is essential that we confess them to God and ask for His forgiveness. It is also very helpful to confess our sins and failures to a trusted friend, pastor, priest or counselor. As James wrote in the Bible, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”2 Then we need to forgive ourselves—this, for many, can be the most difficult thing to do, especially for those who are perfectionists or have perfectionist tendencies.
True, some sins are going to have lasting effects in this life and may always bring regrets, but we need to realize that there is no sin that is so big or so bad that God will not forgive—apart from the sin against God's Holy Spirit which is the failure to accept God's forgiveness! Any and all sins are an offense against a Holy God but, because God loves us so much, He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sins—large and small! All we need to do is confess our sins to God, repent of them, believe that Jesus died on the cross in our place, invite Him into our heart and life as Savior, ask for His forgiveness, and thank Him for it.
Note: For further help, be sure to read the article, "Forgiveness: the Power That Heals" at: http://tinyurl.com/3bw3q3 and/or "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9 .
Suggested prayer, "Dear God, thank You for Your great love for me, and for giving Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for all my sins. I confess my sins (name them) to You God, and ask for Your forgiveness. Please help me to forgive myself and all who have 'sinned' against or hurt me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus name, amen."
1. 1 John 1:9 (NIV).
2. James 5:16 (NIV).