Within the pages of the Bible are stories of remarkable faith and trust in God as well as examples of remarkable transformations in attitude and behaviour. The story of Joseph found in Genesis chapters 37-50 contains examples of both of these demonstrations of God’s power. The story of God enabling Joseph to rise to the top against all odds can give hope and encouragement to anyone struggling to trust in God in their present circumstances. The sub-story of Judah’s transformation from a selfish opportunist (Genesis 37:36-37) to a selfless giver (Genesis 44:33) can help those who need encouragement that they can rise from where they have fallen.
A Father Is Always Involved
Like Judah, many men in our culture have been connected to the loss of a family member for selfish reasons that fall short of the selfless design that God intended them to walk in. Of the 90,000 children per year in Canada lost through abortion, each one had some level of a father’s involvement.
Of the 90,000 children per year in Canada lost through abortion, each one had some level of a father’s involvement.
The involvement may have been negative, for example, in the case where the father has forced an abortion. The contribution could be seen as equally detrimental when the father abandons the mother to fend for herself. Perhaps the father’s lifestyle caused the mother to mistrust his ability to handle those responsibilities. This mistrust may make her unwilling to be connected to him long-term due to their relationship with the child. This may have contributed to her decision to have an abortion.
On the other hand, there are fathers who were unaware of the pregnancy. They may have had every intention to provide for the mother and the child should a pregnancy have occurred but were denied the opportunity to express their intention. They became unable to exert any influence in the baby’s life because the abortion decision was made without their knowledge of the pregnancy. There are also fathers who tried to prevent the abortion but could not.
There Is Hope
There is a whole spectrum of ways in which a father may be involved in an abortion. In some cases, the level of culpability is greater than in others. However the abortion experience played out, the father is still connected to the loss of his child. This father may feel the impact of his responsibility for that loss for a long time before he is able to address it. It seems that later in life, with more insight and experience, men begin to more greatly feel the impact regarding what they did or did not do regarding their own offspring. When under life’s intense pressure, he may, like Judah, be reminded of the wrong he did in that situation. (Genesis 44:16).
However the abortion experience played out, the father is still connected to the loss of his child.
However, there is hope for that father. The same God who offered a path of restoration and redemption for Judah offers to bring restoration and redemption for the man who has been involved in an abortion. (Hebrew 13:8).
There is a process for redemption and restoration that a father involved in an abortion can move into. Freedom and healing are available for him. He does not have to remain permanently stuck in the emotional distress that his abortion experience may have left him in. He can get on a road that leads in the direction of wholeness and health.
A good place to begin the step into restoration and redemption is to accept God’s forgiveness available to everyone through the death of his son Jesus Christ. Whether a father has forced an abortion through intimidation or abandonment or has been promiscuous and has lost a child to abortion that he had no power to protect, he can still access forgiveness for whatever level of the wrongdoing he is responsible for. He needs the same remedy that all of humankind needs for their sins. That remedy is receiving Jesus Christ’s death as a payment for his sins (Romans 3:23-24). Jesus died once for the sins of the whole world, including the father involved in an abortion (1 John 2:2).
Jesus died once for the sins of the whole world, including the father involved in an abortion.
The realization that God has made everything possible for that father to come into a relationship with his loving transforming creator (John 1:12) is good news. It is good news that can impact a man and create a desire within him to move in the direction of being transformed in his character. He can become open to opportunities that God gives to operate from the place of selflessness and other-centeredness. These places that God created are resident within him and are waiting to be activated. He can be changed into a selfless giver like Judah was.
Look For Self-Giving Opportunities
Once forgiven and reconnected in a relationship with the Heavenly Father, the love of God has the power to move the post-abortive father into self-giving opportunities. These opportunities can help him walk in the transformation of character that God has available for him. There are a variety of doors that he can open that will help him experience that reparation and transformation of character.
A father may open the door of supporting his local Crisis Pregnancy Center. These centers are involved in counselling men and women who are vulnerable to abortion and those who have fallen into its deception. His support of these centers could enable them to maintain their operations and continue to save the lives of men, women, and children. He would become connected to saving a child from death and saving the mother and father from the devastation that abortion brings to the soul.
Another effective partnership for a post-abortive father would be to connect with a Maternity Home that helps vulnerable pregnant women. His support of these homes would move the father into providing support for pregnant women, a step in the direction of living out wholesome character that will help him move into a new sense of healing and freedom. These initial opportunities will help him begin to embody the divine design of selflessness and self-giving.
Intentional growth in the development of godly character can further occur in the context of post-abortion healing retreat weekends such as Rachael’s Vineyard, House of Esau or Deeper Still. There, people gather together to share their stories in a context of humility, forgiveness and redemption. Rachael’s Vineyard and Deeper Still provide an opportunity for men and women to heal together, while House of Esau provides an opportunity for men to heal with other men. Both avenues are channels through which the grace of God can touch people and help them grow and overcome their abortion experience.
The Transforming Power Of God
Entering into the opportunities for redemption can be a transformational, life-giving experience. This resolution of inner conflicts frees a person to apply themselves more effectively in their present context. This movement towards reconciliation results in a strengthening of one’s spiritual life, allowing one to produce more efficiently (Isaiah 40:31).
Interestingly, the genealogical line of Jesus is traced back to Judah, not Joseph.(Revelation 5:5) It seems that while Jesus is connected to the power that enables people like Joseph to stand true to good character, he is equally as concerned with providing transforming power to those like Judah who have fallen. When a father is able to choose to move into this transformational power that Jesus has to offer, he will move further into his divine design, and he will begin moving into the blessing God has for him.
‘And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to the fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.’ Malachi 4:6