And that’s what makes Lecrae’s story such a powerful force of healing in the lives of many now. Openness with sin and confidence in the forgiving power of Christ bring eternal healing from the deepest stains of guilt (Hebrews 9:22). This message of hope is urgently needed for millions who live in the shadows of shame and regret in our society.
On the ground, Ensor is sounding the message through pregnancy help clinics, places where he is seeing tremendous gospel fruit. “In these 2,452 pregnancy help centers across America,” Ensor says, “a complete stranger walks in the door, and in three minutes in that counseling office, they are weeping and telling you about their sex life. You are in. You can ask questions: Where is God in this picture? Where is your family? Where is the boyfriend? You are into their whole lives and all you have to do is help them, help them think, help them practically and share your hope with them.”
Through platforms, endless work is possible for preachers, artists and writers who are willing to humbly but boldly speak out like Lecrae.
“I think a lot of teachers, pastors and artists don’t want to touch this [abortion] with a 10-foot pole,” Piper says. “What can you say about this that is new and halfway meaningful? They don’t stop and ask: What are the roots that are feeding this? And there are dozens of roots: fear and greed and lust and prayerlessness and unbelief and unwillingness to suffer. And pastors can get all over that. Artists can get all over that. You don’t need more statistics to expose how bad the problem is. But rather, where is it coming from? Whether it is racism or whether it is abortion, if you go beneath the actual phenomenon, it can be talked about forever.”
Inexhaustible roots spread out underneath abortion, and the fallout of unwanted pregnancy is daunting, reminding the church of her high calling. Abortion reflects a failure of men, Ensor says, who find abortion as a way to be sexual predators with an easy way to clean up the mess and walk away. Instead, the culture needs a model of true, self-sacrificing masculinity, Lecrae stresses. “I think it is a bigger issue of men and standing up and saying: I am going to be a dad, and I am going to take leadership, and I am going to be a force in my community to break a lot of these cycles.” The church has an opportunity to step up and model this masculine responsibility, and to step in and care for mothers and children, and particularly in vulnerable urban environments.
Personal restoration is possible, and Lecrae is a living testimony. By God’s grace, he was willing to face his sin honestly and openly, to weep and confess, and to draw near the blood of Christ. He’s now married to his wife Darragh, and they have three children. Lecrae is, in the words of Ensor, “standing tall as a godly man. … That is powerful stuff.”
“Yeah, and it’s possible stuff,” Lecrae responds. “If God has called you to something, he will equip you to be what he has called you to be. He has called you to be a responsible, faithful, diligent leader, as a man. And he will equip you to do that, and he has equipped me to do that. I never would have imagined I would have the resources, the understanding or any of the things that I have now. But by the grace of God, I am here.”
God has called Lecrae to confess his sin as a visible story of the healing and restoring power of grace in this generation. Not all stories end like this. The stories celebrating abortion will never prove to be a means of escaping the guilt. Such escape is left to those who humbly confess their sins before a holy God. “I broke down one day,” Lecrae tweeted this week. “Sometimes we try to bury things, but the healing process begins when we let them come to light.”
In the light is where Lecrae continues to share his candid story, with an honesty that beckons others out of the shadows to walk in truth, before God and there find cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7).
Piper: “The gospel teaches us how to live, but it also rescues us when we fail to live the way we are supposed to.”