It may be among parents’, pastors’, and youth leaders’ worst fears: A Christian young woman gets pregnant. Spiritual leaders often feel as if they’ve failed, and their hurt can prompt them to lash out in anger, further damaging the already guilt-ridden and fearful heart of the young person they’ve tried to mentor through the years. As an unintended by-product of a young woman’s fear of such a response, these leaders may be unwittingly fueling a temptation toward another unbiblical choice: abortion.
How can Christian leaders encourage purity and strongly warn against sexual immorality while modeling and teaching about God’s forgiveness? That balancing act may seem more precarious than that of a tightrope walker over Niagara Falls; nonetheless, it is needed. Not only are young people’s hearts hanging in the balance, but so are babies’ lives.
Falling off one side of the tight rope means endorsing immorality and making unwed pregnancy seem acceptable. A youth group with that kind of culture is no different from the godless culture that surrounds it, and it certainly does not reflect the holiness of God. However, young people should be taught that while pregnancy makes sexual behavior obvious, God sees what is in secret. What’s more, He is pleased when sin is uncovered and confessed openly (Proverbs 28:13).
The other side can bring an even more damaging fall: Sin can be covered and deaths can result. As uncomfortable as knowing about sexual sin may be, parents and other mentors need to be willing to accept apologies and offer forgiveness when young people repent of sin and ask for help. If they don’t feel like they can go to mature Christian adults in their lives, they may well go to Planned Parenthood, instead, to help cover up their sins. Not only does this set a spiritually negative precedent for a lifetime of unrepentant sin, but it also leads to added guilt and physical results from abortion that can last throughout a woman’s life.
God may well use a pregnancy to reveal the sexual sin of adolescents in a way that forces them to stop covering their sin. Once it is obvious, sometimes brokenness and repentance can result. But it comes hard. Pregnancy centers such as the top caliber Womens Centers of Ohio (located in the Dayton, OH region) can provide counseling for both a pregnant young woman and her parents as well as a safe place for considering options. While anger and disappointment may give way to feelings of failure and betrayal, adults need to remember that we are all sinners and repeatedly sin against our God. Unlike us, He is truly perfect and yet forgives us openly, every single time (Psalm 86:5)
In her book And the Bride Wore White, Dannnah Gresh states that none of us can lose our purity, because we never had it to begin with. We should all be growing in purity, as believers, and even an unwed mother can use the difficulties caused by sin to prompt her toward spiritual growth. With the right mentors in her life, she will be in the best place to understand God’s forgiveness and learn how God can be glorified with her future choices.