What’s God got to do with it?
A recurring theme throughout all of Support After Abortion’s resources and healing programs is that, in order to truly help someone, you need to meet them where they are – and often, they are in a place where religion and spirituality is not something they are interested in. Yet most programs that offer after-abortion healing are faith-based.
This raises a multitude of questions and concerns. If you’re a faith-based provider, you may struggle with the question of: can someone truly heal without Jesus? If you have always led with a faith-based approach to abortion healing, you may want to push back against any kind of program where God is left out of the equation. And if you come from a secular, pro-life standpoint, you’ve probably already asked a million times, “What’s God got to do with abortion healing at all?”
These are all valid concerns and questions, which Greg Mayo, Men’s Healing Strategist and Chair of the Support After Abortion Men’s Task Force, and Fr. Shawn Monahan, OMV, Assistant Director of Spirituality at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat and Spirituality Center in Venice, Florida and member of the Support After Abortion Board of Directors, seek to tackle in this webinar.
While the vast majority of abortion healing programs are faith-based, the vast majority of people looking for healing after abortion are looking for non faith-based resources. The gap between what people need and want and what is offered is enormous.
Support After Abortion research shows that 73% of women and 53% of men who have abortion rarely or never go to church. Fifty-four percent of women and 31% of men who have abortions identify as atheistic or agnostic or no religion, and a mere 16% of women and 40% of men want to be met with a religious approach when it comes to abortion healing.
Twenty-two million men and women would seek healing if they knew where to go but here’s the deal: 17 million of them won’t even be helped because programs aren’t available that seek to meet them where they are.
Do most abortion healing programs really lead with faith if so many people are looking for something else? The short answer is yes. But if we, as abortion healing providers, can change our approach while still being open to the Holy Spirit and showing the love of Christ, it’s very possible to reach many, many more people in need of life-changing healing.
Bringing in the Priest
It may seem counterintuitive to have a Catholic priest as the main speaker on a webinar that is focused on how to provide abortion healing programs that are not faith-based but hang with us. This discussion doesn’t go the way you may think it goes.
Father Shawn leads retreats at a spirituality center in Florida and often works with people who have experienced some kind of abortion trauma in their past.
Father Shawn explains that ground zero for healing is our belief systems and it is each person’s individual beliefs that we inform emotions and determine how we feel. Our emotions also tell us if we are being loved or not, which can be significantly damaged through experiences where we are wounded, leading to a distorted view of ourselves and, if we believe in an Almighty Creator, a distorted view of God himself.
If you’re confused, don’t worry, Father Shawn and Greg work through what all of this means throughout the webinar, leading viewers to understand that ultimately, as abortion healing providers, we need to recognize when someone is coming to us with deep brokenness and through that understanding, trace it back to their belief systems.
This can happen just through simple questions of “where are you now?”, “what are you feeling?”, “what do you believe in?”, “what do you believe about yourself?”
Trauma has so many awful consequences in our lives and one of the biggest ones is that people who have suffered trauma oftentimes are led to believe they aren’t loved or are not worthy of being loved – by themselves, others, or God. Or that God cannot forgive them for their abortion decision, that they couldn’t possibly obtain forgiveness.
Showing Jesus without Mentioning Jesus
Jesus was the ultimate example of love, mercy, and compassion. He looked at humanity with deep, deep love and people he encountered on his Earthly journey knew there was something special about Him.
If you are a follower of Christ and work in abortion healing, Father Shawn points out that you can spread the Gospel by being like Jesus yourself – by loving those who come to you in brokenness, by creating a safe and non-judgmental space for them to share with you, by being compassionate, kind, and acknowledging and validating the pain they are going through. It takes time to heal and by praying for those you serve and by loving them as Jesus did, it will be noticeable by your actions that there is something special you have – and maybe a time will come when you can share it with those who have entrusted their healing to you, and where you can lead them to the ultimate Healer.
To watch the webinar for free, see this link.