Compassion and Love for Moral Injury
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. ~ II Corinthians 2:15
Abortion is a hot word that, if we are being honest. It promotes a feeling of angst when brought up. There is an initial anxiety for the unknown direction of the discussion when spoken. This feeling keeps us silent and avoidant unless we are sure we are in the midst of like minded people. But, how sure are we really? When statically, 1 in 4 women have obtained an abortion. It is likely that in a gathering there is one who has a moral injury. How sad that these women are in our churches and that they live in bondage rather than living in freedom offered through grace.
Moral injury was first used by Johnathan Shay to describe the wound experienced by one who has engaged in or witnessed something that collides with their values or morals. It occurs in response to an act that go against an individuals’ core beliefs and morals. The response is a disturbance that is unreconcilable resulting in feelings of condemnation, shame, and deep remorse. Many women would never dare admit their abortion putting them at risk for judgment and rejection.
Scripture tells us we are to be the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing. This includes the mental perishing that occurs when people hold tightly to their burdens out of fear. If we would/could reframe how we look at the women who made this decision. See them as one deceived by the lies of the enemy. John 10:10 reveals that, “That the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” Post-abortive women feel emotions they could not imagine, because they were deceived and scared.
This is why we must begin to open our hearts, our minds and arms for the women who yearn for restoration. The church is called to be the fragrance of Christ, therefore we must begin to invite, engage with and seek out those suffering a moral injury and share Paul’s bold message recording in Romans 8:38 that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separated us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Victory over the moral injury comes when she can trade her condemnation for restoration, replace depression for joy, shed the shame for acceptance, let go of self-loathing and cling to redemption through Christ. As the church, we have local resources to help us talk about this, to point women, and yes men, to people who are ready to partner to begin the journey of healing. CARE is a local non-profit that is Christ centered and on mission to offer hope to the burdened hearts after an abortion.
As a church, we don’t have to avoid conversations or even dread the topic of abortion. Informed, you can turn toward an injured woman offering grace. How we speak on this topic and how we refer to the women who are considering an abortion or who have made a choice to terminate a pregnancy determine the opportunity to be the fragrance of Christ of the condemnation their heart fears.