I watched “Unplanned” last night. There are many comments I could give, many things I could say. What I walked away with was, perhaps, not the intended purpose of the movie. It is certainly not what I expected to walk away with or the reason I went. Yet here it is:
But for the undeserved grace of God, I could have been Abby Johnson.
I was young and eager and desirous of making a difference. Had I walked past that Planned Parenthood table, with her background and knowledge, I would have signed up to volunteer too.
Had I started volunteering and realized how many abortions were being performed, I could have rationalized it as healthcare, as a needed last resort. Quite frankly, I have volunteered serving women in crisis pregnancy, and while I will never recommend abortion as a needed option, and I firmly believe that a life-affirming choice is always possible . . . I do know why they choose it. It does seem easier at the moment. And oftentimes the choices of parenting and adoption are also very hard choices. In Abby’s shoes . . . i could have been a very good “salesman” of abortions.
Had I wound up with a boyfriend like she did . . . I might have let him convince me to get an abortion, rather than tell my parents that I’d been having sex and gotten pregnant. Had I faced a pregnancy after a broken marriage and divorce with a man who’d cheated on me . . . it would have been so very tempting to abort rather than be tied forever to him.
This doesn’t make abortion right. Please don’t misunderstand me. But the capacity for that kind of sin, of murder, is within me. I am no different.
Had I been noticed and selected for leadership, like her I would have said yes to promotions. I could have deceived myself into thinking I was doing the right thing, making a difference. Like her, I have drive and passion and leadership abilities. I succeed at most everything I attempt, and I can make hard decisions to advance the greater cause, which submitted to the Lord can be wonderful Kingdom-advancing things . . . but in the wrong context? I could have made some terrible choices. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have deceived myself like that . . . but I know better. I’m capable of the same deception she was.
Had my family not supported me, had my husband hated what I did, like Abby I could have done it anyway. Had I heard sermons that pointed out my wrong, like she did, I could have shut my ears and heard what I wanted to hear, like she did. I am no different. Truth alone would not have changed me. Love would have.
Because like Abby, when I saw the reality of what was happening, I think I would have broken down too. I have a tender conscience, and you can only lie to yourself for so long before something cracks or simply hardens. I’d like to think I would have cracked. And like Abby, I would have run to the place I felt loved.
For you see, that’s the whole message of the gospel. We were wretched sinners, condemned to a death we deserve, capable of the worst kinds of evil, dead in our sins. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead, made us alive together with Christ – by grace we have been saved – not our own doing, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2)
I deserve judgment. But He gives me mercy.
I deserve condemnation. But He gives me love.
I deserve death. But He gives me life.
It is nothing I can do or earn or deserve. He gives it freely as a gift.
That, my friends, is the crux of the gospel. Holy God in love became perfect man to bear my blame, on the cross He took my sin, by His death I live again. (“The Gospel Song” by Sovereign Grace Music)
I have heard it argued that Abby Johnson deserves the death penalty for being complicit in 22,000 abortions. Yes, she does. But here’s the thing. So do I. I broke God’s law too. Not just could have, but actually have. Hating is equal to murder. I look at the 10 Commandments alone, and how far I fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin are death.
I deserve the death penalty. You do too.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. God is faithful and just to forgive every sin, because in His great mercy and because of His Son, the price has already been paid. Praise God, when we accept His gift of salvation by faith, He doesn’t give us what we deserve.
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Let the grace we have been given not inspire us to pride or to condemning others. Rather, let us walk away overwhelmed and grateful at the lavish grace of God, the depths of the love of God, the riches of the glory of this mystery: Christ in us, the hope of glory.
I don’t want to lose the wonder of that. Not ever. But I do want to share it.
To the man or woman who has sinned sexually, past or current, there is hope. You can go and sin no more. There is freedom and forgiveness and a new way of life. God can make you a new creation.
To the man or woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, there is hope. There are people who will walk alongside you, and God can work all things for His glory and the gift of a new life is certainly part of that.
To the man or woman who has abortion in their past, there is hope. There is forgiveness and healing and restoration. God can bring beauty out of ashes – and Jesus already paid the price for this sin too.
I’m deliberately saying “man or woman”. These things affect all of us. Whatever your sin, in any and all ways that you have fallen short of the glory of God, there is hope. Because of Jesus. Because God loved you so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
That’s the good news. Know the depths of your sin, know your capacity for evil, know how deeply you deserve that death penalty. And let His grace and love and mercy be all the sweeter. Then go share that good news, that wonder, that hope, for we live in a dying world that desperately needs it.