“At the time, I believed an urban myth that if you consume enough drugs you would become sterile. I thought we would never get pregnant. I remember we were both working at a call center, and we went out for our smoke break one day, and she hesitated to smoke the cigarette. And that is when she informed me that she was pregnant.”
My Life Over Yours
Lecrae sensed abortion was the wrong decision, but he also saw abortion as an easy escape from the responsibilities of fatherhood. “Had it not been for the conviction of the Spirit, who I was suppressing with drugs and alcohol, I don’t know if I would have felt anything. But I was so callous and so hard-hearted that it was almost second nature to say: ‘Oh, well, you ought to get an abortion.’ I was so self-centered at this point in time, and not God-centered at all, that it wasn’t even a question; it was just me convincing her that this was the right thing to do.”
Which he did. The abortion clinic was around the corner from her house in a disenfranchised, poor, urban community. As the lyrics say, he dropped her off.
“After the abortion, I really pretty much shut it out of my mind, literally to the point—it is shameful—I ignored all her calls. I quit dealing with her altogether. The last time I saw her I remember she was curled up on a bed crying, and I pushed all of it out of my mind. And what I kept were pictures of her, as a memorial in some senses.”
The memory could not be shut out of his mind forever. He knew the abortion he persuaded, like most abortions, was not explained away by compelling medical reasons but was—in his own words—“me choosing my life over yours.”
In this overriding choice of self-preference over the life of a child comes the guilt that lingers. He kept a picture of the ex-girlfriend as a secret memorial to their unborn child. It would become a reminder that would later force open an old wound as he prepared to marry his fiancée.
“Years down the line I was going through premarital, getting rid of pictures of my ex-girlfriends, to say my mind and my heart are focused on this woman here, and I don’t need any reminders of anything. And I came across her picture and I couldn’t throw it away. And my wife said, ‘Just throw it in the trash.’ I literally broke down over the guilt and the remorse and the shame of it all. That was the beginning of the healing process for me.”
It was a healing process he wanted to share. When he wrote and recorded the story into the Anomaly album, he first prepared his mother with a phone call for the story she didn’t know.
A Sweet Invitation
Long before Augustine penned and published his honest struggles with lust in the fourth century, public confession has proven to be a powerful force in leading others to humble admission before Christ. Lecrae’s confession of sin, first to his future wife, and then to others in his life, and then to the public, is an invitation for many who find the guilt of abortion impossible to shake.
“Public confession of sin is such a liberating thing for others to come forward,” says John Piper of Lecrae’s story. “And if they don’t come out of the darkness, then they can’t have the sweetness of forgiveness. The gospel teaches us how to live, but it also rescues us when we fail to live the way we are supposed to live. And that is what makes it sweet. And so the fact that you have been so public—to call your mom on the phone and to throw away an old girlfriend’s picture and to weep in front of your wife—that story should release men and women from the shadows that are so enslaving, because the gospel is healing.”
Millions of adults now have the same opportunity to find healing. Every year around the world, nearly 45 million abortions leave 45 million children dead and 90 million others, both women and men, with permanent scars to carry. As John Ensor soberly reminds us, “For over 20 years now, the guilt and regret of abortion is the most common human experience of our generation.”
And yet there remains a default response, to cover over the sin in isolation and shame. From that experience Lecrae is pleading for others to consider an honest confession of their sin to God, which is the first and necessary step to finding true healing (Psalm 32.3–5″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>Psalm 32:3–5).
A Call to Preachers, Artists, Writers
Public confessions open doors for others. Whether it comes in self-effacing lyrics by Lecrae, an honest book by Augustine or the ancient poetry by the psalmist, we learn confession by example. And these examples come at a cost. “It takes a strong person to be vulnerable,” Lecrae said in an interview last year. “When you’re hurt, you hurt other people, but when you’re healed, you try to heal other people.”