August 24, 2010

I have known “Pavel” for two years. He is the associate pastor in an ELKROS (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States) Church on the Volga River in west central Russia. He is a faithful, caring pastor who loves Jesus and His word and the people he is called to shepherd. In May of this year, along with a series of Bible studies on living the Christ-centered life, I did a study on abortion and forgiveness. After the Bible study he shared these troubling thoughts with me.

When I was a child, I had a great family. It consisted of my older brother, dad, mom and me—also two grandmothers and many, many relatives. And this family is the same great family today.

We lived in a country with strong patriarchal traditions. I often saw families with three, four, and more children. I saw grown-ups coming from such families and realized that when they grew up life was easier and fuller for them. I have a great older brother, whom I deeply love, but I’ve always wanted to have more of such brothers, and also sisters!

As to my childish question, “Why don’t I have more brothers or sisters?” my parents answered that they don’t have any. And I lived peacefully and happy. But once I heard my grandmother say that I might have more brothers—and despite my granny’s insisting, my parents didn’t keep them. At that time I didn’t know what an abortion was and the mechanics of this process were not so important to me, because I was overwhelmed by the feeling of deep offence. I felt that someone stole something from me—and the most dear people to me did it. They decided that they have the power to deal with something that doesn’t belong to them completely. It wasn’t just their sons, but also my brothers, who could support and bless me in my life. I thought of them through my relations with my older brother.

Though I have to say that my brother and I had many misunderstandings, it didn’t affect our love to one another.

I barred this feeling and never spoke of it, especially to my parents, as I still loved them, they remained to be the closest people in my life, and I didn’t judge them for what they have done. But I was hurt.

Even after having become an adult, and hardly remembering that story, watching big families I sometimes still feel this old wound. I don’t have such strong feelings now, I have accepted my parents’ choice long ago. For many years I’d been living with a hidden wound, but the Lord filled and healed it when he gave me many brothers and sisters in Christ.

Of course, the Lord is able to fill any lack and to heal any wound, but it would be better if we didn’t hurt each other.

My parents are still alive, thanks to the Lord. We love each other very much. Our family is very happy and joyful. My parents are very old and I wouldn’t like this old story to bother them again, so please keep this story without real names.

Pavel’s story reminds us of one more painful consequence of the waste and destruction brought upon us by the abortion mentality. How many young people are hurt, angry, and resentful that their parents robbed them of their siblings—brothers and sisters they would have grown to love and who would have supported them throughout their lives?  May God give them the grace to forgive one more painful fruit of the abortion culture and give us the courage to stand against this practice in whatever way possible.

Note: According to Wikipedia, “Russia has the highest number of abortions per women of child-bearing age in the world according to UN data” (53.7 abortions per 1000 women age 15-44; 2.7 million abortions annually).

Don Richman is the International Representative for Lutherans For Life.