Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #2—Jesus Didn’t Say Anything about Premarital Sex

Dear Christian Sisters,

If you read through all of my last post, then you learned that the Greek word porneia is translated to

  • fornication,
  • immorality,
  • sexual immorality, and
  • unchastity

in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) [see the Blue Letter Bible].

We get our English word pornography from the Greek porneia [see dictionary.com].

You also know from my last post that the sexual acts that are included in porneia are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law, mostly Leviticus (Jewish Law refers to the first 5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sex with close relatives
  • sex with a divorced man or woman
  • premarital sex

Hypocrisy within the Church

As Christian Sisters, we know that historically the Church has looked down on women who have premarital sex. We know that even today women with crisis pregnancies are judged within the church and in society.

As women living in a feminist society, we feel the hypocrisy—men are hallowed for their sexual conquests while women are quietly (or not-so-quietly) called whores.

Jesus’ Kindness

But have you ever noticed that when Jesus talked to women about their unchastity, He was kind?

In contrast, whenever He talked to crowds of men and women, He was direct.

Sometimes Jesus was angry, but I only see His anger when He’s addressing men—and He called them hypocrites.

Jesus Talks Kindly to Women about Unchastity

For example, when Jesus talked to the woman at the well about her unchastity, He did not condemn her. He did clearly reveal Himself as the Christ to her, a woman. That was a big deal. At that point in His ministry, He was not even that direct to the 12 disciples about His divinity.

For more on the woman at the well, read my blog post titled “Abortion & the Church.”

When the Pharisees brought a naked woman caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus, He redirected their eyes away from her and down to the sand. Once all the accusatory men left, Jesus did not condemn the woman but simply told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

For more on the woman caught in adultery, read my blog post “Abortion & the Church.”

Jesus did not condemn either woman, but He was clear about their sin.

Jesus is Direct about Unchastity

Jesus was also clear about porneia (unchastity) to all of His disciples (not just the 12 but the crowds).

There are no parables about sex. Jesus outright says not to have sex outside of marriage.

In three stories, Jesus uses the word porneia.

Jesus Talks about Unchastity in the Sermon on the Mount

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is direct about unchastity but because He does it in the context of divorce, we often miss what He’s saying about premarital sex.

but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity [porneia], makes her commit adultery [moicheuō]; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery [moicheuō].
Matthew 5:32 NASB

Notice that unchastity is the Greek porneia and that adultery is the Greek moicheuō. It wasn’t until I studied this verse to understand what Jesus was saying about sex rather than what He was saying about divorce that I noticed the difference between unchastity and adultery.

Unchastity includes adultery. Adultery is a subset of unchastity. So, unchastity is the larger term and includes any type of sex other than heterosexual, consensual sex between one man and one woman who are married to each other.

That tells me that if your husband thinks that you’re a virgin when he marries you and then finds out that you were not, he can divorce you. And, yes, of course, the same in reverse—if you think that your husband is a virgin when you marry and you later find out that he wasn’t, then you can divorce him.

I hear you laughing under your breath! I know. I know—it would be unusual to find a couple in the United States today who has not had premarital sex. But doesn’t that tell you something about the context of Jesus’ teaching? In Jewish society, it was typical to be chaste until marriage, not unchaste like today.

Now, I’m not saying that you should divorce him! Assuming both of you know the other’s sexual history, The Church expects you to remain married, and God does, too (Malachi 2:16).

There are many couples who stay together through adultery. Certainly if a couple can stay together through adultery, then you can stay together even if one of you lied about his/her virginity.

The fact that Jesus said that couples could divorce because one of them had premarital sex (whether heterosexual or homosexual) tells us that He takes sex very seriously. Why do I say that? Because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16).

Jesus is Direct about Divorce and Unchastity

On His way to Jerusalem for the final week of His life (we call that Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Day or Easter), Jesus was followed by large crowds (Matthew 19:2) and some Pharisees came to test Him about divorce (Matthew 19:3).

Now, these Pharisees were trying to find fault in Jesus’ teaching (“testing Him” in Matthew 19:3). They already knew what He said about divorce in the Sermon on the Mount or other places, since certainly He taught His commands wherever He went (if all that Jesus did was written, the world could not contain all the resulting books—John 21:25).

These Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus since He was preaching against what Moses allowed. Here, read the story for yourself. Note that anything in all caps is a quote from the Old Testament:

and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE (Genesis 1:27, 5:2), and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? (Genesis 2:24) So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [porneia/unchastity], and marries another woman commits adultery [moicheuō].”
Matthew 19:2-9 NASB

As you can read, Jesus is direct while repeating and reinforcing what he preached in the Sermon on the Mount. Not only is divorce not in God’s will, but unchastity is not, either.

Jesus Gets Frustrated or Even Angry with the Disciples

In another passage, Jesus gets frustrated, maybe even angry, with his disciples for their lack of understanding.

In Mark chapter 7, we read that the Pharisees and Scribes watched Jesus’ disciples closely, found fault in them about the tradition of ritual hand washing, and challenged Jesus about it (Mark 7:1-5). Jesus calls them hypocrites (Mark 7:6), quotes the Old Testament prophesy about them (Mark 7:6-7), and goes on pointing out their hypocrisy (Mark 7:8-13).

Then Jesus turns to the crowd to declare all foods clean (Mark 7:14-16). Frustrated with the Jewish leaders, Jesus goes into Peter’s house to calm Himself down only to find that the disciples didn’t understand either (Mark 7:17-19).

Jesus then makes it clear that there’s a difference between food laws and moral laws:

And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality [porneia], theft, murder, adultery [moicheuō], coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Mark‬ ‭7:18-23‬ ‭ESV

Have We Kept His Commandments?

So, yes, Jesus did talk about unchastity. Are we keeping His commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Jesus said:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
John 14:15 NASB

Have we always kept God’s commandments on unchastity and adultery?

Paul said:

The body is not for immorality [porneia], but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:13b‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I am keeping God’s commandments now, but I have not always done so.

But remember that when Jesus points out a woman’s sin, He’s gentle. He also says, “sin no more” (John 8:11).

Have We Confessed Our Sexual Sins?

John said,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have confessed my sexual sins. Have you?

When I confessed my sexual sins, I named them. God does not want to hear the general request: “forgive me of my sins.” He wants you to name them. He wants you to own what you did—and then sin no more. Because when you own your own sins, you acknowledge how perfect God is and how much you need Him for your eternal salvation.

(S)He who conceals (her)his transgressions will not prosper, but (s)he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Proverbs‬ ‭28:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Here is a sample prayer. There is nothing magic about it. I provide it simply to help you if you feel lost for words:

Dear Lord Father,

Your name is above all names. You are holy. You are mighty. You are perfect in all Your ways. You love me even though I sin.

You created the moral laws for my good. I trust You, Lord, that Your laws are for my good.

I have not followed Your laws about sex. I have been unchaste. I have fornicated. Please forgive me for _________________ (having sex before I married [heterosexual or homosexual–both are wrong], looking at porn, looking at soft porn on the TV and in movies, fantasizing about someone other than my husband, saying crude words that demean the beautiful sex that You created for one man and one woman to have in covenant marriage, what other sexual sin does God want you to confess?).

I acknowledge my sexual sins to You, and my iniquity I will not hide from You. I confess my transgressions to You. Please forgive me the guilt of my sin in the name of Jesus, my Savior.

I have died to sin. May I forever feel uncomfortable with sexual sins. May I forever live as a citizen of heaven, a foreigner living on earth until You take me home.

Thank You for Your lovingkindness, Abba Father.

Send me out today as a new woman, in the name of Jesus, that others would recognize the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23]) within me.

Amen

Are We Teaching Others What Jesus Said about Unchastity?

Not only did Jesus have something to say about unchastity, but He tell us to teach all He commanded. Here it is in the Great Commission:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ [emphasis added]

If you are a mother, then you are a teacher to your children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

If you are not a mother, then you can have more children than the rest of us (see Isaiah 54:1-3). You are a teacher. You are an influencer to your nieces and nephews, to your coworkers, to children in your church.

Do you want God to reverse Roe v. Wade and greatly reduce abortions?

Then

  1. confess your sexual sins
  2. sin no more
  3. teach other disciples that unchastity is a sin—because it is. Jesus said so.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Lies about Sex vs the Bible: #1—Everyone Else Does It!

Dear Christian Sisters,

We cannot talk about abortion without talking about sex–the very thing that results in crisis pregnancies.

If we were to follow what the Bible says about sex, we would have far fewer women and men considering abortion because we would have far fewer crisis pregnancies.

NOTE: Please remember that I am not writing from my pedestal. I, too, have had premarital sex, which you already know if you’ve read my story (see Faces of Abortion and Forgiveness & Peace that Passes All Understanding).

Keep reading this series to find out how I dealt with my sin and why it’s important for you to deal with yours, too, even if you never got pregnant or never had an abortion.

What the Bible Says about Sex

Do we know what the Bible says about sex? Do we know what the New Testament says?

Most of us had sex before we got married. It’s what we do here in the United States whether we’re Christian or not. It’s the culture. We live in a sex culture.

New Christians under the rule of Rome also lived in a sex culture. Sex was often part of the Gentiles’ worship of gods.

They didn’t slither into a brothel like people do today (of course, it’s unlawful here). They openly went to the temple to worship their gods by having sex with temple prostitutes.

When Gentiles began believing that Jesus was their Savior, some Jewish Christians said that the Gentile Christians had to be circumcised and follow all the Jewish laws.

This was a big debate! Paul and Barnabas brought this debate to the Apostles, including Peter, and the elders. You can read the drama in Acts 15.

James, the half brother of Jesus, gave a speech that convinced those who had gathered for the debate that Gentile believers should not feel burdened (Acts 15:13-20).

They then sent a letter to the Gentile believers letting them know that they did not need to follow Jewish Law–except to:

“abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication” (Acts 15:29).

Fornication? What is Fornication?

The sexual acts that are included in fornication are the forbidden sexual acts listed in Jewish Law (mostly Leviticus):

  • adultery
  • homosexuality
  • lesbianism
  • intercourse with animals
  • sexual intercourse with close relatives
  • sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman

For a complete list of Old Testament laws about sex, go to the Gospel Outreach page and scroll down to #330.

In the list of Old Testament Laws about sex, did you notice that God didn’t just say, “Men, only have sex with your one wife” and “Women, only have sex with your one husband”?

We people are so hard-headed that He had to give specifics, like “don’t have sex with your sister or half-sister.”

This is a good reminder of our sinful nature. It’s also a reminder that we need to teach each other the specifics of what fornication includes.

In the World, Not of the World

We may live in the world that embraces the sex culture, but we are called by God to not live like the world. (Ephesians 4:22-24; John 15:19, 17:14-16; Romans 12:2)

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality*; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

[*Sexual immorality in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is translated from the Greek porneia. Porneia is translated to immorality, sexual immorality, unchastity, and fornication in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).]

Teach Them the Way They Should Go

Let us also remember as mothers, aunts, and leaders that we are called to teach our children.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:7

Let us consider how to inspire one another to love and good deeds, encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

In Christ,

Cheryl

Forgiveness & Peace that Passes All Understanding

Dear Christian Sisters,

In my previous blog post, I told you my story—what led up to my abortion and how it resulted in more bad choices.

In retrospect, I can tell you that my abortion brought darkness over my life. I turned my back on God, I murdered my baby, and I continued to make bad decisions of staying with the baby daddy—living with him, buying a house with him, and then marrying him (the wrong order!).

It wasn’t until after the baby daddy divorced me that I found the love of Christ shown practically by Russ. I had great joy!

But I also felt convicted that having an abortion is wrong.

Thankfully, the forgiveness that comes from Christ is freeing. We should never put the heaviness of guilt back onto a woman.

As sinners, we can have the peace of Christ in all circumstances, but we have to seek the Holy Spirit to get it.

When I first told my story in front of a large group, which was at my adult baptism, I quoted a bible verse. The Lord gave it to me right as I was speaking. I didn’t know where it was in the Bible at that time, but today, I can tell you that it’s in the Bible in two places:

  • in Psalm 51, which is THE BEST chapter on confessing our sins and feeling the love of God’s forgiveness, and
  • in Isaiah 1.

In Psalm 51, King David is confessing his sin of murder to the Lord. In verses 2 and 3, he says:

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.”

In verse 7 is the freeing verse. The verse that is echoed in Isaiah 1:18.

“Purify me and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

If you, too, are post-abortive, read Psalm 51 as if you wrote it yourself. Mean it. Then you, too, will feel the love of God’s forgiveness. Once you feel whiter than snow, you will feel light!

I exchanged my story for His story. You can, too.

Even if you have not had an abortion, you probably have life challenges We ALL have things going on behind these faces—things that are difficult.

  • Some of us have difficult marriages.
  • Some of us have significant illnesses.
  • Some of us have difficult relationships with
    • adult children,
    • extended family or
    • coworkers.

We all have stress.

But we can all have the peace of Christ, peace that passes all understanding.

How do I know?

Because I have two siblings. Both of them have schizophrenia.

Shortly after I accepted Christ, we figured out that my brother also has schizophrenia. I remembered how I left the church when things got hard with my sister 15 years earlier.

I remember all too well how darkness fell over my life because I made really bad decisions, like:

  • premarital sex and
  • abortion and
  • living with my boyfriend and
  • marrying the wrong guy,

because I was angry at God—So I made a conscious decision to press into the church when my brother got sick and then became homeless.

Not that the church knew what to do with schizophrenia, but:

  • They knew how to pray.
  • They knew how to have healthy relationships within the family.
  • They had referral lists for Christian counseling—and I needed counseling!

My brother was homeless for 2 years. How he was admitted into the hospital, I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to know. But he did get diagnosed with schizophrenia, and then through social workers, got an apartment.

The medicine never fully worked, but at least he had a roof over his head.

Until a year ago.

Now if you’ve ever seen the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” then you have an inkling of what my brother is like. He’s a genius. The schizophrenia medication dulls his genius.

He went from spending all his time in the library reading books on computational linguistics and grading papers for a professor who taught Mandarin to someone who sits around all day doing nothing.

Not only does he know Mandarin, but Hebrew and Aramaic. He could have a PhD in linguistics, but he’s too smart and too bored to finish his freshman humanities paper to even get his bachelor’s degree.

And a year ago, he left his apartment back in Minnesota and traveled to Boston. He didn’t tell anyone.

It took a month for my dad to figure out that my brother had left and where he had gone. It took 3 more months to get confirmation from the police that he was really in Boston.

When my dad reached out to him, my brother left Boston. We think he went to Washington, DC. My mom lives with me, and she and I talk about this all he time. My brother must not realize how close we live to DC, but he would never seek us out. He literally closed the door on my face a couple years ago. He doesn’t want to see me.

And now we have no idea whether he is in DC or went back to Boston or has moved on to someplace else.

And even though I am very sad that my brother is off of his medication, that he is homeless again, and that he doesn’t want to see me, I still have hope, and I still have peace.

How?

Last year when I found out that my brother was missing, I started praising God while I was crying. In my homeschool group, we sing the Doxology, which has been a comforting return to my church upbringing.

So I’ve been singing “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow”—and as a result, I have grown closer and closer to the Lord. I feel peace even though I’m sad.

I felt peace as I worked alongside my dad and my nephew as we cleaned out my brother’s apartment (a day that felt like a funeral).

  • Peace has returned to my marriage and my home.
  • I had absolute peace about quitting my job last spring.
  • I had peace about homeschooling my teenager this year.
  • I have peace about not having a second income even though our expenses went up this year.
  • I had peace about my husband having hip surgery this summer, and I have peace about his upcoming knee surgery.

In my previous life, all these life circumstances would’ve stressed me out. But now, every day, I seek more of the Holy Spirit.

In Luke 11 after Jesus’s says “knock and it will be opened to you” (verses 9-10), he says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (verse 13).

And I’ve been asking.

You know what we get when we have more of the Holy Spirit? We get the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

So, I say to you today,

  • confess your sins—big and small—so that you can be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7),
  • ask for more of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) so that you can have peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7), and
  • go make Christ appealing to every Gentile and every Jew you meet so that they want to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior (Matthew 28:19-20).

In Christ,

Cheryl

Faces of Abortions OR Call Me a Missionary to McDonald’s

Dear Christian Sisters,

People’s lives are messy.

The circumstances surrounding a woman’s decision to abort are messy.

We need to be the love of Christ to women in their messiness. We are responsible for the Great Commission, and we should think of these women as potential disciples.

Who I am Today

Because most of you don’t know me, let me paint a picture of who I am today. I am married to an evangelical Christian man, Russ, who helps support the airlines so their planes stay in the air and not on the ground—which I know you all appreciate.

I have 2 boys school-age boys—one with Aspergers and one with ADHD. They were in public school until recently, and now I homeschool them both.

I have a bachelors degree in technical communication, and I nearly finished my master’s degree in instructional technology. Before I decided to stay home to raise boys, I was a project manager leading teams to create web-based training for big corporations like Target, Northwest Airlines, and 3M.

A couple years ago, I went back into the workforce at our church until this year when I chose to stay home to homeschool my high schooler.

I am on the prayer team, I am in bible study class Sunday mornings, and I am in a special needs moms’ small group—although I have to admit that my kids’ special needs are so much easier than all my girlfriends’ kids.

But what I love about that group is that they understand that life is hard.

Because, you see, my home while in high school was not easy.

Well, it started easy. I am the spoiled youngest of three. My sister and brother are a bit older than me, so when I was done with 5th grade, they were both off at college, and I was the spoiled only child.

Living in a Home Tormented with Schizophrenia

But in the middle of 10th grade, my sister and her 6-month-old baby boy came home for Christmas and never left. Her husband had left her because she had a mental illness that he couldn’t handle.

Suddenly, I was the neglected middle child.

This situation led to a lot of arguing in my house. As some of you know, having three generations living in the same house is challenging because parents and grandparents don’t always agree on how to raise the child, so you have that natural tension.

Now add a mother who is not doing basic things for her child because she can’t think straight, because she is hearing voices that aren’t there.

It took two years for the doctors to diagnose my sister. She has paranoid schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is different than multiple personalities disorder. With schizophrenia, you hear voices and have hallucinations. For my sister, she had a “friend” that she talked to in gibberish while pacing. Evidently her “friend” was funny because she would talk and talk and talk, listen, and then laugh.

The priority in my parents’ house was my nephew. And rightly so.

But I didn’t get the attention that I needed as a teenage girl.

My parents missed a musical that I was in because of my sister. They made the best out of a difficult situation, but I was hurt, and my defenses went up.

My parents didn’t ask me about my day or what I was doing at school, so I stopped telling them.

My parents didn’t ask me why I was upset about friendships, so I didn’t share anything with them.

And then I met a guy.

Spending time with him was so much more peaceful than listening to my toddler nephew whine at the dinner table, my mom correct him, and my sister get upset about my mom “interfering” with her parenting—you know, the parenting that she wasn’t doing.

I was home for dinner, but only because my parents required it. I hated being at the dinner table.

But as soon as dinner was over, I took my homework to my boyfriend’s place.

Now, are any of you surprised that I got pregnant?

It was the end of my junior year in high school. Having lived with my nephew for a couple years and all the fighting that happened around parenting him, I had NO interest in raising a child.

I was busy with extracurriculars at school:

  • I was first chair alto saxophone player in the band.
  • I was editor of the high school newspaper.
  • I was a straight-A student.

I did not want the burden of a pregnancy and most especially did not want to see the disapproving looks or hear the disapproving comments of my classmates or my teachers. So I decided to have an abortion.

My mom was so stressed out about my sister and my nephew that my decision to have an abortion seemed like a relief to her.

My dad was distraught, but he never said anything to me until after the abortion. Then he realized that he needed counseling more than I did. I was fine.

My dad was the church choir director. He still is today. He just turned 80, and I’m certain that he will be the choir director until the day he dies.

My mom was a former church organist. She’s a preacher’s kid. She volunteered for everything at church, including leading the children’s choir and teaching Sunday school. Today, she plays handbells at her church.

I had been a leader in the church youth group. I could’ve been the president of the youth group the following year, but Mom and I convinced Dad to leave the church.

This was shortly before I got pregnant. We were so stressed out at home, and our pastor made our church work even more stressful. No one was helping us deal with my sister’s schizophrenia—or at least I didn’t think they were.

Church was a burden. So we left.

In the dozen years that followed, I—

  • lived with my boyfriend,
  • bought a house with him, and
  • married him–in that order. The wrong order.

It was a one-sided marriage in that I loved him, but he didn’t love me—but I didn’t believe in divorce.

I didn’t think that he believed in divorce, either, but after 13 years together, 9 of which we were married, he decided he wanted a divorce.

About a year and a half later, I found the love of Christ. My husband, Russ, is the hero in my salvation story.

We don’t have enough time for me to tell you all those details, but in short, when we met—

  • I was politically liberal,
  • pro-choice,
  • very skeptical of evangelicals, and
  • I was sure that my politically conservative, evangelical boyfriend would be scared away by my abortion.

He wasn’t. He loved me anyway. He showed me the love of Christ.

And it was because Russ showed me the love of Christ through his acceptance and love of me that I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Faces of Abortion

Now, I want you to stop and think about how you picture the faces of women who have had abortions. Did you picture me?

The angry women that you see in the pro-choice movement are probably faces of abortion. They are faces of pain. They are faces of messy lives.

This last winter, I went on a mission trip through church to Uganda where I had a life-changing conversation with one of the pastors about abortion in Africa and in the United States.

Since returning, the Lord has made it clear that I am to change the conversation about abortion.

Knowing that I was going to go public with my abortion online, I began telling my family and friends so that they would hear about my abortion from me and not by reading it online.

In the process, I have found out that some of my friends have had abortions, too. Turns out that their lives have not been so perfect, either.

You don’t know how many of the faces you see every day belong to women who have had abortions. Have they experienced the love of Christ through you?

Or have they heard judgment as you comment on all the pro-choice mantra that comes from “liberal media” or the Women’s March?

What the Great Commission Means

We seem to forget that the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) was told to us disciples, that we are responsible for the Great Commission. When we hear the Great Commission, we hear “go to all nations”…

…but we forget that “nations” means ethnic groups. We forget that Jesus, a Jew Himself, made the Great Commission while in Israel, talking to Jews. He was telling them to make disciples of all the Gentiles—us.

The U.S. is the melting pot of nations, of ethnic groups. The Great Commission is meant for us—as well as all other nations.

Yes, some people are called to go on mission trips. I am. You might not be. But all of us are called to think of every trip

  • to work,
  • to the grocery store,
  • to the drive thru

as a mission trip.

[For more on the Great Commission, read my blog post, “Abortion & the Great Commission.”]

Missionary to McDonald’s

For example, my Sunday morning routine includes going through the McDonald’s drive thru. Now, before you judge our eating habits, know that this quick breakfast allows me to do my prayer walk, take the dog for a run, and get everyone out the door for church without fighting.

There are two women who are usually working in the drive thru–Susan and Gloria. Susan is from India. Gloria is Hispanic. My goal every Sunday morning is to make them smile because I’m sure that they get many grumpy customers. Besides, they got up at 5 am to make breakfast so that I don’t have to.

One day, I hope to have a relationship that allows me to share the gospel. That’s my prayer.

Call me a missionary to McDonald’s!

Share the Love of Christ

So I urge you to share the love of Christ wherever you go. You have no idea what is going on behind those faces.

Your job is to make Christ appealing to them so that others want to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior—even if those others are pro-choice.

P.S. You can read more of my story, Christ’s story through me, in my next blog post, “Forgiveness or Peace That Passes All Understanding.”

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

Part 6: Abortion & Revival

Dear Christian Sisters,

When pastors and prayer leaders talk about revival, they usually quote 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB

Have you ever noticed that this verse is an if/then statement?

If God’s people:

  • humble themselves
  • seek His face (not just His hand)
  • turn from their wicked ways

Then God will:

  • hear from heaven
  • forgive their sin
  • heal their land

If we want revival, then we need to pray about abortion in humbleness while seeking His face and turning from our wicked ways.

You may be saying, “Turning from our wicked ways? But I haven’t had an abortion!”

Perhaps not. But I ask you this: Have you done the very thing that causes most of the unwanted pregnancies?

That is, have you had premarital sex?

Premarital Sex & the Church

I do not know what the statistics are, but given how pervasive premarital sex is in our culture, I would guess that the number is large. How is it that we cast judgment on women for being pregnant out of wedlock when we ourselves have had premarital sex?

We cannot go before the throne of God and plead with Him to save unwanted babies if we have not repented for our premarital or extramarital sex ourselves.

Some of you may wonder if it was okay to have sex with a man and then marry him. No! It was not okay for me to have premarital sex with either of my husbands. Hebrews 13:4 says:

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

“Fornicators” is translated from “pornos,” the root of our word “pornography.” “Pornos” includes male/gay prostitution and sex between two people not married to each other.

“Adulterers” is translated from “moichos” and means exactly what you think it means: unfaithfulness to your spouse.

If you are one of the few who have not had premarital or extramarital sex, then pray in mourning for our country and the world anyway because we have a culture of sex. Most of us are complicit in the culture of sex by watching movies and TV shows, buying magazines, and looking at things on the Internet/social media.

Safe Sex

If you think it was okay for you to have premarital sex because you had safe sex, that is, because you used birth control, let me tell you: I used to say that. The truth is, women get pregnant on birth control.

Do you know who Abby Johnson is of the ministry called And Then There Were None? She is a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who turned pro-life. She says that most of the women who came into her clinic got pregnant on birth control.

Some people think that if you take the pill 100% correctly, then you won’t get pregnant. Others say that you can still pregnant.

The issue is not whether you had “safe sex.”
The issue is whether we were obedient to Christ.

The Bible does not say, “It’s okay to have sex out of wedlock if you use birth control.”

The Bible does say “the two shall become one” and “the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her” (go read it at 1 Corinthians 6:16).

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

The point is not whether we should use birth control. The point is that God calls us to purity.

There is nothing in the New Testament that releases you from the Old Testament laws about sex.

Pray As If We’re All in This Together

Nehemiah and Daniel both prayed in confession of the people’s sin—not in self-righteousness but in an attitude of “we’re all in this together.”

Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned.
Nehemiah 1:6 NASB

Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to… those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You.
Daniel 9:7 NASB

Daniel 9:(3)4-19 makes a great prayer for our nation! Consider praying this as if you wrote it:

Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame… Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.

Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

And now, O Lord our God, who… have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day-we have sinned, we have been wicked.

O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from (our land). So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations…

For we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because… Your people are called by Your name.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the BibleAbortion & Revival

 

Facebook Live Sept 30, 2017

I was on Facebook Live today with an ASL interpreter telling my story.

  1. Our lives are messy. The circumstances surrounding a woman’s decision to abort are messy.
  2. The forgiveness that comes from Christ is freeing. We should never put the heaviness of guilt back onto a woman.

Thank you, Pam, for interpreting!

Part 5: Abortion & the Bible

Dear Pro-Choice Christian Sisters,

You may have heard it said that the Bible says nothing about abortion, but I say that the Bible says a lot about valuing the pre-born.

And before you get mad at me, let me tell you that I have had an abortion. (I wrote some of my story in “Part 2: Abortion & the Church,” in “Part 3: Abortion & Our Words,” on Facebook Live, and in “Faces of Abortion.”)

Please do not think that I am writing to you from a “holier-than-thou” pedestal. The last thing I want to do is tell the world that I had an abortion.

But I am telling you anyway because I do not want the emotional pain of abortion for you—or for anyone.

What I did was wrong. But I know that the Lord has forgiven me. If you need forgiveness and can’t wait for my blog on that, then go to Psalm 51 and read it as if you wrote it, as if you are saying it to God yourself.

Not only has God forgiven me, but He has also called me to cry loudly, to not to hold back, and to raise my voice like a trumpet (Isaiah 58:1a).

You see, I used to be you. I was raised in the church and yet I had an abortion anyway. I volunteered for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. I counter-protested the Christians who picketed outside an abortion clinic. I voted solely on whether a candidate was pro-choice.

If I had understood the scriptures, I’m sure that I would not have had an abortion. Knowing what I know now about how darkness fell over my life, I do not want that pain for anyone—not you, not your friends, not even my enemies. You are my sisters in Christ!

Ever since the Lord first showed His love for me in very practical ways, I have studied the Bible. He has taught me how to understand the Bible. He has taught me how to pray.

So today I pray that you will hear me out—or as Jesus would say, “She who has ears, let her hear” (Matt 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

Lord, bless the readers of this blog post in ways that they feel, without doubt, that those blessings came from You. Open their minds to understanding the scriptures (Luke 24:45). Let us remember that You are love (1 John 4:8). You love the world, the whole world (John 3:16). You do not love only the men but also the women. Lord, if any readers do not believe Your love for them, let them read “Part 2: Abortion & the Church,” to see how Your Son, Jesus, lovingly treated the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Choosing Light Not Darkness

When I had an abortion at age 17, darkness fell over my life. Before “The Walking Dead” became a TV show, I referred to myself as the walking dead because I looked alive. I pretended to be happy. But I had no joy.

I realize this now that I have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) and have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10). I have turned from darkness to light and have received forgiveness (Acts 26:18). Now I have the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10) and peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

You see, when we choose to follow Jesus, we walk in the light (John 8:12). I like it much better here! I invite you to join me so that you, too, can feel the joy of the Lord.

The Word Abortion Is Not in the Bible

You may be thinking, “Well, that’s fine for you, but I know that the Bible doesn’t say anything about abortion.” Since the Bible does not have the word abortion in it, I can see your point. But I ask you to spend some time with me today exploring why pro-life Christians still believe that abortion is wrong in the eyes of the Lord.

For Christianity “is not a blind leap in the dark; faith is a reasoned response to God’s Self revelation” (Dr. Bill Creasy).

You are right that the word abortion is not in the Bible. You can find a lot about sex, money, and repentance in the Bible but not any stories of abortion. Why is that?

Old Testament Jews Valued Children

Let’s remember that the Old Testament was written for Jews, which was a culture that valued children. Because the Jews valued children, there was no reason to instruct them to not end their pregnancies. How do we know they valued children?

    1. We know that they valued children because the Old Testament includes many genealogies—lists of people in their family history, their ancestors (genealogies of Cain, Adam, Noah, Shem, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Esau, Joseph, Jacob’s grandchildren, census by tribe of genealogical record, David’s ancestors, Samuel’s ancestors—We’re only at the 9th book out of 66; we haven’t even gotten to Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph or through Mary).

That’s right, David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22; 1 Sam 13:14; Ps 89:20; Acts 7:46), broke one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). Actually, he broke at least two (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). Read on.

David and Bathsheba’s Story

There are many cool things about David’s story. Everyone knows the gist of the David and Goliath story. Many know that he was anointed king over Israel by Samuel, but many miss that it was another 13 or so years before he actually became king.

Everything about David’s story is interesting. There’s plenty of drama in David’s life to keep you riveted for years. But here we’re going to focus on how David and Bathsheba got together.

At this point in his story, David is king over all of Israel. David stayed home when he should’ve been at the battlefield. He sent all his men to battle while he stayed home (2 Sam 11:1), including Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (2 Sam 11:3, 1 Chron 11:26, 41).

While hanging out on his own rooftop, David saw Uriah’s wife Bathsheba bathing (evidently Uriah’s home was nearby), he summoned her, and he had sex with her. She got pregnant (2 Sam 11:2-5).

What we don’t know is whether David and Bathsheba “had eyes for each other” before this story or whether she had sex with him because he was the king and reasoned that she couldn’t say “no.” My personal opinion, based on how Bathsheba interacts with David throughout their lifetimes, is that they had eyes for each other. But that’s my opinion, not fact.

Today in the United States, you might expect a rich man to offer his mistress money for an abortion or even pressure her into having an abortion. But that’s not what David does.

Why not? Because that’s not what God’s chosen people did.

Instead, David tries to trick Uriah into having sex with his own wife so that he would think that the very large baby born prematurely was his (2 Sam 11:6-8). Uriah doesn’t fall for the trick (2 Sam 11:9-13), so David has him killed in battle (2 Sam 11:14-21).

After Bathsheba mourned the death of Uriah, David married her and she had a son. “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Sam 11:27).

The Lord sent Nathan to David to rebuke him for what he had done (2 Sam 12:1). Basically, through Nathan, God says, I gave you everything. “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” (2 Sam 12:8-9)

Despised the word of the Lord.

The Lord explains the consequences of David’s sin (2 Sam 12:11-12, 14), David feels convicted of his own sin (2 Sam 12:13, Ps 51:3-4), and his son gets sick and dies (2 Sam 12:15-19).

In summary, David decided that it was better to kill one of his own mighty men of the armies (1 Chron 11:26, 41) than to kill the pre-born baby boy.

Why? Because the Jews valued children.

And because the Jews valued children, there was no reason to instruct them to not end their pregnancies.

What God Said About the Jew Who Did Not Value Children

Were there Jews who killed their children?

Yes, King Ahaz burned his sons in fire as sacrifices to a foreign god “according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel” (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3). The nations whom the Lord had driven out were the ethnic groups that lived in the Promised Land while the Jews spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.

How did God feel about what Ahaz did? The Bible says that Ahaz “did not do right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1).

Over 100 years later, the Lord sends Jeremiah to the same location as Ahaz’s blood sacrifices, the “blood of the innocent” (Jeremiah 19:4), and referred to the blood sacrifices as “a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind” (Jeremiah 19:5).

If blood sacrifices of children never entered God’s mind, why would abortion?

Ahaz was worshipping gods of wood and stone (Ezekiel 20:31-32).

What are our gods of wood and stone?
Paper money and diamonds, perhaps?
How many times do we women abort babies because of how costly it will be to go through with the pregnancy?

“For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you. What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’”
Ezekiel 20:31-32 NKJV

How is it that we expect God to be inquired of by us—that is, why do we expect God to listen to us—when we are bowing to wood and stone gods rather than Him?

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Matthew 6:24 NASB

Bible Shows That Pre-Born Are Children

Now you might be thinking of the argument that the pre-born are not babies or are not human until they are born.

First
Let me ask you this: If I would not have had an abortion, what would have happened? I would have given birth to a baby, a human. Not a dog, not a monkey, but a human baby who would have grown up and today would be 29 years old.

Second
Surely someone before me has quoted to you all sorts of verses that show that God knew people before they were born. Here is the list for you to read on your own:

Third
The Law in the Bible (Exodus 21:22-25) says that if two men struggle and strike a pregnant woman in the process, causing harm to the pre-born, then the penalty is a life for a life, that is, his life for the baby’s life.

Fourth
But here’s the best proof that I have heard to date. I learned this from Pastor Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church. The New Testament was written in Greek, and Pastor Lon points out that the same Greek word brephos is used to refer to:

  • John the Baptist when he was still in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41, 44)
    AND
  • babies when the disciples were bringing their children to Jesus so that He could touch them (Luke 18:15-17).

Not sure if you believe me? Read for yourself on the Blue Letter Bible website. Be sure to scroll down for all the uses of brephos.

By Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible (Colossians 3:16a).

The body is not for immorality but for the Lord and the Lord is for the body (1 Corintians 6:13b).

Choose God’s Light & Teach Other Christians To Do the Same

Dear Christian Sister, do not despise the word of the Lord. Do not do evil in His sight. Believe that the Bible demonstrates that God values the lives of children and pre-born babies. As a follower of Christ, He wants you to value the lives of children and pre-born babies, too.

Choose life for yourself.
Teach your daughters and sons to choose life.
Teach all those at your church to choose life.
Choose the Light.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:6-14 NKJV

We Christians have got to get this right. The Lord cannot use us in the world when we are living like the world (see Romans 12:2; James 4:4).

We Christians have got to stay out of abortion clinics—for where our treasures are, there our hearts are also (Matt 6:21).

If you are conflicted, if you are unsure, if you are considering an abortion, please contact me privately. There’s no judgment here. Let me pray for you. Let me help you find help near you.

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the Bible | Abortion & Revival

Part 4: Abortion & Politics

Dear Christian Sisters,

I’m tired of politics.Republicans for Choice & Democrats for Life--Seriously? Abortion & Politics at CherylKrichbaum.com
I’m tired of politicians.
I’m tired of politicians talking about abortion.

If we were to follow news reports, we’d think that all Republicans are pro-life and all Democrats are pro-choice. But there are groups called Republicans for Choice and Democrats for Life.

We think that having a Republican President is a win for the pro-life movement, but consider this: The CDC’s statistics show that the USA had—

  • more abortions per year 2004-2008
    (avg of 715,000/year; Republican President)
    than 2009-2013
    (avg of 632,000/year; Democratic President), and
  • the abortion rate went up 2004-2008
    (from 714,000 to 718,000/year; Republican President)
    but consistently went down 2009-2013
    (686,000 to 570,000/year; Democratic President).

Let that sink in.

Many Christians want to reverse Roe v Wade, thinking that abortion would end.

It won’t.

In Uganda, for example, abortion is against the law yet women still have abortions, particularly poor women.

Perhaps our attention should not be on politics but on women who are in difficult situations.

Instead of focusing on politics, let’s turn our focus to “teaching them the way they should go” (Deut 6:7) and “teaching them all that I commanded you” (Matt 28:20).

Vote and then let’s go with our churches to volunteer among the poor in our cities and counties because those are the young women who are most likely to abort.

Instead of posting polarizing political articles on social media, let’s get involved in teen or young adult ministries at our churches—or at FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).

Instead of getting upset at Planned parenthood, let’s volunteer at or donate to Christian pregnancy centers near us and encourage our churches to partner with them.

Instead of getting mad about women aborting 67% of Down Syndrome children (see CBS News report), let’s start special needs ministries at our own churches.

Instead of complaining about the pro-choice movement to our Christian friends, let’s start making our churches welcoming to hurting women, perhaps by starting chapters of A Mother’s Cry.

What other ideas do you have for making a difference in the abortion rate?

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the BibleAbortion & Revival

Part 3: Abortion & Our Words 

Dear Christian Sisters,

I wonder how often our words unintentionally tell young women to abort.

While on a short-term mission trip to Uganda over New Year’s, I met a man who is studying to be a pastor. He sat at the dinner table with our team as we discussed abortion in Uganda and in the U.S.

One of our pastors pointed out that when we tell our daughters not to come home pregnant, we are essentially telling them to go have abortions.

The Ugandan man realized that he had said that very thing to his daughters, so he went home to change the conversation.

A parent’s words are powerful.

That got me thinking. We need to have these same discussions in the U.S. as well as in Uganda about abortion and what we’re saying to women. The mission field is not just outside of the U.S. (See part 1 of this blog series, “Abortion & the Great Commission.”)

Changing the Way We Talk

As followers of Christ, we need to change the way that we talk and to encourage others to do the same because we are unintentionally telling women to have abortions.

changing-pt3-2-INSTAGRAM

When we pro-lifers talk about abortion, we typically talk about the babies who are dying. U.S. politics are so polarized on the abortion issue that pro-choicers hear everything we have to say as yelling.

When has yelling convinced anyone to accept Christ’s gift of eternal salvation?

From their perspective, all we seem to care about are saving babies, but what about the women?

  • Are we caring for them through the pregnancy?
  • Are we supporting them as single moms?
  • Are we walking alongside them through open adoption?

After all, who is making the decision to abort?

The women, of course!

So, let’s consider how we might be telling women to have abortions.

How We Unintentionally Tell Teens to Have Abortions

My best friend in high school got pregnant about the same time that I did. I was at the top of my high school class. My best friend who is smarter than me and graduated ahead of me chose life. I didn’t.

For her, standing up for her daughter was her ticket out of her parents’ house. She wasn’t going to let her daughter grow up in an abusive home. So, she moved out and into an apartment and finished high school by doing all her classes as dual enrollment at the local university. She advocated for herself and for her daughter.

Her high school counselor told her she had to go to the district’s alternative school—top of the class and they wanted to send her away. Let me ask you—How is that different than saying “If you want to stay here, you have to have an abortion”?

Want another example of sending the wrong message? Here’s one that’s more recent: “A Christian school banned a pregnant teen from graduation because she was immoral”:

“We teach our students about the beauty of marriage and that sex inside of marriage is one of the things that is beautiful about marriage,” he said.

But while the school reaffirmed its decision, antiabortion groups have rallied to support Runkles. They argue that by singling out a pregnant student, the school is making it more likely that young women will choose abortion rather than suffer embarrassment and punishment.

Yes, exactly that.

And then there’s the inequality:

“It’s because I’m pregnant and you can see the results of my mistake,” Runkles said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“There have been kids who have broken the student code and they could have hurt people or even gone to jail and they only received an in-school suspension and they’re allowed to walk this year.

As for me and my story, I was hard hearted. It was my decision. No one pressured me to have an abortion, but no one told me not to, either.

Accidental Words

So, let me ask you. What have you said to your children about abortion? You may not have children of your own, but you may have children by volunteering in the children’s ministry or with youth or young adults at your church—because your church is a family, right?

Maybe we are so rigid about “no sex before marriage” that our kids are afraid to tell us that they are pregnant.

Maybe we say, “Don’t ruin your life” by having children when you’re young as if being a mom or putting a child up for adoption is the end of your education and career—because it’s not! God’s strength in us is bigger!

How do we need to change the conversation in our homes and in our churches?

In order to change the conversation, we need to talk about our messy lives, shed light on them—get them out of the darkness and into the light. Take away the power of Satan.

Telling Our Stories to Our Children

Last spring on Good Friday, my husband and I sat down with our boys, ages 13 and 9, and told them our stories of choosing Jesus, including what our lives were like before and how we have changed. **And let me be clear: Abortion is my story, not my husband’s. My husband is the Christian hero in my story!**

Until that night, our boys only knew us as we are now and what we value today. Before we told them, they did not know that we were not always moral people.

It was hard. It was embarrassing. But they were very understanding and forgiving.

I told them that I felt like I had been keeping secrets from them and that I didn’t like that feeling. They both hugged me!

Now that it’s all out in the open, there’s no shame. We took our sins out of the darkness and brought them into the light where Satan no longer has power.

And guess what? Now our boys ask us more questions. We have frank conversations through our bible studies (because the Bible has a lot to say about sex!). Through our discussions of tough questions, we guide them into being the men whom God wants them to be.

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the BibleAbortion & Revival

 

Part 2: Abortion & the Church

Dear Christian Sisters,

As the Lord has taken me on this journey of changing the conversation about abortion, I have often wondered if our church is welcoming to women who have unwanted pregnancies.

As it relates to the topic of abortion, how well are we Christians loving people?

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV

Yes, we do get angry at the pro-choice movement because they are for killing babies, but do we show love and compassion (“Love your neighbor as yourself”) for the brokenhearted women who are pregnant out of wedlock?  Or the woman who just found out that her baby will likely have Down Syndrome?

I mean, who is making the decision to abort?

There’s no point in telling the babies that you love them enough to fight for their lives because they have no power. So, let’s tell the women that we love them enough to fight for their eternal lives because they do have the power to choose life.

Right now, the word “Christian” has a political connotation to it that tarnishes the Name of our Lord. If a non-believer hears “Christian” in the context of politics, does following Christ sound appealing?

A small group leader in my church makes a point in not calling herself a Christian but instead calls herself a follower of Christ. I like that.

If we want to make a real difference in the number of abortions, we need to stop being angry, politicized Christians and start being followers of Christ, showing compassion on brokenhearted women who are in difficult situations.

We need to end abortion by showing the love of Christ to women and men, not by telling them they are wrong.

The Woman at the Well

Jesus in his encounter with the woman at the well did not condemn her. He had a conversation with her. He had a conversation that led her to believe that He is the Christ and that led many more Samaritans to believe. Here is the story as John told it in his gospel:

But He (Jesus) needed to go through Samaria.

Jesus did not need to go through Samaria because that route was better or easier. Dr. Bill Creasy explains that Samaria is in the mountain range. It would’ve been easier for Jesus and his disciples to stay along the Jordan river.

(Dr. Creasy is a great resource on biblical geography and studying the bible from a literature perspective. You can get his book of John from Audible.com.)

Jesus needed to go through Samaria presumably because He knew He needed to talk to the woman at the well or perhaps just because He wanted to visit Jacob’s well.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water.

There’s only one woman at the well. Now, ladies, let’s think about that. How often do you go someplace by yourself? You might liken going to the well for water back then to using the restroom today. You don’t go by yourself. All the women go at the same time.

So why would this woman be the only one at the well? She was at the well at 6 am—while all the other women were at home making breakfast and doing other morning preparations for their household—because she was ostracized.

The other women went to the well after dinner and brought their children with them. Because she knew she wasn’t welcome, she went when no one else would be there.

Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

Samaritans of this time had some Jewish heritage from the northern kingdom of Israel when Israel split into Israel and Judah, but their forefathers had intermarried with Assyrians (when Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel) and worshipped Assyrian idols alongside God. Because of their mixed heritage and idol worship, Jews of Jesus’ time would not associate with the Samaritans.

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

I can imagine the woman staring at Jesus in silent awe as the disciples returned. Can’t you?

The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men…

…not the women–perhaps because they wouldn’t talk to her?

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

There He goes again, talking in metaphors, making the disciples think! I love this about Jesus. He makes us think. Just goes to show that Christianity is a thinker’s belief system. Here, Jesus is pointing out that the harvest is right there at the well—and they were about to reap!

“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

Ooh, I love this metaphor! I’ll sow—you reap. Or you sow, and I’ll reap. No matter which, we will rejoice together!

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word.

Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
John 4:4-42 NKJV

So, you see, Jesus didn’t condemn the woman for having many husbands; He engaged her in conversation. As a result, not only did she believe, but many in her community believed. How awesome is that!?!

In the Church Today

Now back to today’s world. If a pregnant teen walks through the church doors, do we embrace and love her? Or do we show judgment on our faces? Do we condemn her?

Or do we have a conversation with her that leads her to believe that Jesus is the Christ? And that following Christ means choosing life?

I was once that pregnant teenager.

We went to church up to that point. Well, we did more than that. My dad was on staff. My mom volunteered in multiple capacities. I was a leader in our youth group.

But as a pregnant teen, there is no way I would go to my church. It was shameful.

It was shameful no matter where I went.

Think about the teens or young adults at your church. If any of the women in those groups were pregnant, would they think, “I’m in a mess! I’ll go to church. They’ll know what to do. They’ll help me through this, the most difficult time in my life.”

No, probably not.

Shouldn’t we go to God first when we’ve messed up? And if we don’t know how to go to God, shouldn’t we find someone who will support us, mentor us, help us turn back to God?

The Woman Caught in Adultery

It is not our job to condemn sin. Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery? To refresh our memories, here it is from the Gospel of John:

The scribes and Pharisees brought to Him (Jesus) a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.”

Caught in the very act. So where is the man? According to Leviticus 20:10, both the man and the woman are to be stoned to death.

“Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.

Did you catch that? It was a setup. They caught her in the very act, let the guy go, and accused the woman so that they could accuse Jesus.

But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

Jesus drew their attention away from the naked woman and down to the ground.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.

Kinda makes you wonder what Jesus was writing in the sand, doesn’t it?

And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

John 8:3-11 NKJV

Are we without sin? Of course not! We have all sinned. If we were there to condemn the woman, wouldn’t the Lord Jesus be writing our sins in the sand?

We are not to condemn. We are to lead women to Christ. We are to teach her all that Christ has commanded us. (Read my previous post on Abortion & The Great Commission.)

Who of us is standing up for women pregnant out of wedlock?

We women have got to figure this out! We have got to figure out how to make the church a welcoming place for all sinners!

We are empowered women. Like the widow who demanded justice (Luke 18:1-8), we too are persistent in getting justice and should be persistent in getting justice for other women. We are gifted at hospitality. We know what it’s like to be a teenage young woman.

We are the ones who are going to make a difference in women’s lives. AND we’re the ones raising boys to be gentlemen and Christ followers.

The harvest is plentiful. We need to get to work.

With the love of Christ,

Cheryl

P.S. My friends and I are meeting to figure out how to make our church welcoming to women with unwanted pregnancies. We don’t have all the answers, but we want to do what Christ has called us to do. One idea is to start a chapter of a new ministry called A Mother’s Cry, which is founded by my friend Julie Mad-Bondo. Please comment below with your ideas as well.

Abortion & _______ Series:

Abortion & the Great Commission | Abortion & the Church | Abortion & Our Words | Abortion & Politics | Abortion & the Bible