I had an abortion. I was young and scared. And now I can't seem to get past the guilt. If I could do it all over again, I would have my child. Now I worry that God will punish me by not allowing me to have other children. Can God forgive me for what I've done? Will God stay mad at me for taking a life? Please, help. I don’t know if God will forgive me. M.N.

Dear M.N.,

We do things in life that turn on a voice in our head that never seems to stop talking. Sometimes that voice is like a scream, sometimes like a whisper, but it’s rarely if ever silent. You’ve heard it. The words you write are painful proof. It’s a voice that has no mercy. When it speaks, it always has the tone of accusation. It won’t let your mistakes die. It shoves them in your face. Again and again and yet again. This voice says, “God won’t forgive you. He will punish you. He’s angry with you. He will always be angry with you.”

Sometimes well-meaning people try to help you silence that voice by telling you what to do. They say that if you do this or that, the voice will go away.

“If you confess your sins, it will go away.” But it doesn’t, does it?
“If you get your life back on track, the voice will be silent.” But it isn’t, is it?
“If you commit your life to God, he will make the voice go away.” But it still accuses, doesn't it?

I, Jesus, will become the one who had the abortion.

There are things too big for us to change, voices too loud and too persistent for us to silence. Guilt is one of them. Heartache over what we’ve done. When you’re torn apart on the inside, you can’t do surgery on yourself to repair the damage. You need someone else to do that. You need someone else to make the voice go away.

Let me tell you about another voice. It is a bigger and better voice, a merciful and loving voice of a Father who thinks the world of you. In a voice rich with compassion, he said to his Son, “Jesus, will you go and take care of my daughter’s sin?” And in a voice equally rich with compassion, Jesus said to his Father, “Gladly I will go. I will, in fact, take that sin away from her and not give it back. I will make it not hers, not even hers and mine, but mine only. I, Jesus, will become the one who had the abortion. I will transfer the guilt and regret and heartache she feels onto myself. I will make the voice that accuses her, direct its accusation against me. I will become the ocean into which every river of wrong empties itself. No sinner will be left in the world except me. I will be everyone. The guilt, the punishment, the anger, the judgment will all be mine and mine alone. Yes, Father, I will take care of your daughter’s abortion. And once I have, we will not speak of it again. We will not remember it again. It will cease to exist.”

I will become the ocean into which every river of wrong empties itself.

It is not a question of whether God can forgive you, or even if he will forgive you. He already has. When you see a cross, you see the smile of your Father. He’s not mad at you. He’s overjoyed that you’re his daughter. He’s happy that you are part of his family. He talks of you to the angels. “Look at my daughter,” he says. “She is beautiful. She is pure. She is the apple of my eye. She is just the way I want her to be.” All of heaven resounds with angelic voices that sing songs of how dear you are to the Father’s heart, how precious your life is to him, that you are his princess.

Your Father will not punish you for something that he doesn’t even remember. Even if he did remember it, he would remember only that Jesus had the abortion, that Jesus paid the price for that abortion, that Jesus has taken care of everything. You are loved by God more than you will ever realize. His love is the voice that drowns out all other voices. It says, “You are my daughter. I loved you even before I created the world. I chose you in Jesus to be in my family. When I look at you, I do not see even a speck of wrong in you. I see you through the prism of my Son, your Savior. In him you are forgiven and perfect and clean and without shame. In Jesus you are everything I want you to be.”

Your mistakes do not define you. The love of the Father in Jesus Christ defines you. His voice alone speaks truth. It is the truth that nothing can separate you from his love. Now and always you are more precious to him than life itself.

You are free. You are beloved. You are forgiven.

Your brother in Christ,