The Emotional Snares of Denial
The Emotional Snares of Denial
God’s grace is medicine for our wounded soul
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Denial provides a protective barrier around our heart to help us cope with the reality of abortion. God provided us with the emotion of denial to endure difficult times. The problem is when denial takes over. If we do not address the truth, endure the pain, and resolve these intense emotions, we can get stuck emotionally. Denial addresses the pain temporarily, but it often leads to anger and bitterness.
Denial says, “Don’t feel guilty – it is safe to stay here.” It can be hard work to look at the truths of our heart that we are denying. It is certainly worth the effort to be set free to live a more peaceful life.
The Bible is packed with examples of people in denial – not just to God and others, but to themselves. For example, in Genesis, Adam and Eve ate from a tree God clearly told them they should not touch. When God confronted them, Eve blamed the serpent for deceiving her. Then Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit. That “blame” is denial. To justify their disobedience, they used denial and blame.
As grandparents, we can use blame to justify our own feelings. In going against our moral code, we naturally work to blame someone/something to help keep deep emotions away. Here are just a few examples:
- It was her fault for sneaking around and getting pregnant.
- The boyfriend forced her to abort.
- Those friends she hangs out with have corrupted her.
- His parents are just as much to blame as we are!
Abortion results in a loss of life. That death is perhaps the most difficult part of addressing abortion trauma. This death cannot be undone. How can this pain end? How do we right this wrong?
While we cannot change what happened – a precious family member was lost – we can choose to heal. Healing begins when we face the wrong that was done and open our heart humbly to God. A simple, “Help me, God” prayer brings His loving and forgiving Holy Spirit into our hearts which starts the healing of this brokenness.
Remember, this is your time to heal individually. The post-abortive people involved in this abortion experience may be in a vastly different place right now. Allow God to work in you first. Trust Him with these loved ones.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
What were Paul’s three sins?
What were Christ’s gifts to Paul?
Why did Paul say Christ did this?
What did God give to Paul?
How can you apply this passage to your relationship with the post-abortive person?
Understanding Guilt and Shame
Read Psalms 51:10-17:
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.
You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
According to this passage, what is God’s responsibility?
What things are your responsibility?
The difference between guilt and shame:
Guilt – The fact of having violated the law or the rights of another person, and the government of God.
Shame – A remorseful consciousness of guilt that makes one feel disgraced or dishonored.
Truth: Guilt says you made a mistake. Shame says you are a mistake.
Are you experiencing guilt? Shame? Or both?
When shame overwhelms us, it is helpful to read Scriptures that speak about shame and God’s love. Feel free to save any part of the verses below that touches your heart:
I am Loved by God – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
I am Valuable to God – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. I Peter 2: 9-10
God Will Take Care of All My Needs – Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
Complete the following:
Healing Activity 4.1 – Chart of Responsibility (below)
4.1 Chart of Responsibility
(Open PDF here)
Hello, I am Sydna Massé Founder and CEO of Ramah International. I'd love to keep in touch and include you in our prayer chain as we continue to serve abortion's wounded and those considering abortion.
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