The Heart of the Life Issue: A Clean Heart

Life is about relationships, and communication in those relationships can sometimes be challenging, as you can see: http://www.flixxy.com/woman-language-translator.htm.
New life begins with that communication.  The progression from a relationship to an abortion goes something like this: Relationship leads to sexual activity; sexual activity leads to pregnancy; pregnancy leads to new life - or abortion.  
When the evidence on abortion is considered, American Christians look much like the world they live in.  According to the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, in 2008 "[w]omen identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as 'Born-gain/Evangelical'; and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient)." See http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fast… 
These numbers are similar to those reported by a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute cited at http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_in_the_church/  found that “43% of all aborting women identify themselves as Protestant, while 27% identify themselves as Catholic.  If these numbers are accurate, that leaves us with the shocking conclusion that 70% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on women who claim the name of Jesus Christ.”  This is hard to stomach.   Now it is true that the Guttmacher Institute supports abortion, and it is the research arm of Planned Parenthood and it might have an interest in demonstrating high numbers of “religious” women aborting, and surveys can be manipulated, but it is also undeniable that abortion is happening with great frequency in the church.  Christians are aborting in great numbers. 
Abortion in the Christian Community is a major problem, and it make family restoration all the more challenging. 
From the life web project called “Hands and Feet” at http://newheights.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/abortion-statistics/ the author writes:
[In researching this material] this is the number that hit me the hardest. Only 24% of abortions are performed on those who call themselves non-religious. … This means that nearly 70% of abortions are on those who call themselves Christians [or identify somehow with Christianity]. Do you hear why trying to legislate abortion floors me? If believers would just stop having abortions then the number could drop by 70%. Christians are fighting to make something illegal that’s largest client base are other Christians.  You can claim that these are fringe believers… but our local center will tell you [that some who chose abortion] are leading ministries within their church and are active in the Christian community. Can we not see how this smacks of hypocrisy to the unbeliever? Maybe we should wait until the numbers change before we start pointing fingers at those who support and perform abortions. Maybe we should look at our hearts because if I’m not mistaken laws don’t bring holiness.
Abortion in the Christian Community is a major problem. What these numbers do clarify is that there are a lot of people in America who claim some allegiance to Christ but do not live as Christians.  There are also a lot of churches that are not sufficiently exposing the evil of abortion.  Some fear offending those in the congregation, some simply avoid the topic for privacy reasons, and some rationalize that is it not happening in their congregation or Christian community.  The secrecy and privacy surrounding abortion is a very convenient way to hide the public sin of out-of-wedlock pregnancy. 
Many Christians are adamantly pro-life until they or someone they love is faced with an unplanned pregnancy – especially one which threatens to expose their own adultery or fornication.  82% of all abortions in the United States are performed on unmarried women.  This means that at least 82% of all abortions are a direct result of sexual sin.  “Where sexual sin ceases, abortion will cease, both in the church and in the population at large.”  Can abortion be eliminated from the world if abortion is not eliminated from the church?   
The research of Christian demography expert, George Barna, was cited in Statistics For a Changing Church: Of the ten moral behaviors evaluated, a majority of Americans believed that at least three of the ten listed activities were 'morally acceptable.' “Those included gambling (61%), co-habitation (60%), and sexual fantasies (59%). Nearly half of the adult population felt that two other behaviors were also morally acceptable: having an abortion (45%) and having a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse (42%). About one-third of the population gave the stamp of approval to pornography (38%), profanity (36%), drunkenness (35%) and homosexual sex (30%).”  However, the one bright spot was that “...Less than one out of every ten evangelical Christians maintained that adultery, gay sex, pornography, profanity, drunkenness and abortion are morally acceptable." (See Barna Research, Nov. 2003, at http://www.crossroad.to/charts/church-statistics.html.) There is hope, but the church in America is not what is should be.
Abortion is really about sexual impurity.  It is about the sexual impurity of Christians.  The inverse - sexual purity - must start with a clean heart.  And a clean heart is one’s integrity.  Our personal choices reflect the condition of our hearts.  A brief look at some of our personal choices is revealing. 

Consider intimacy apart from marriage.  A study in 1991 of college freshmen showed that "about two- thirds of men (66.3 percent) and slightly more than one-third of women (37.9 percent) support the idea of sex between people who have known each other only for a short time." See American Freshman annual study.  As sobering as such statistics may be, they indicate that not everyone is sexually active, but many are.  A 2009 study revealed that “46% of high school students had sexual intercourse and 13.8% had four or more sex partners during their life.” See http://www.sadd.org/stats.htm.

“There is growing evidence that marital infidelity is [] a problem among Christians. An article in a 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that various surveys suggest that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than their wives. The Journal of Pastoral Care in 1993 reported a survey of Southern Baptist pastors in which 14 percent acknowledged they had engaged in "sexual behavior inappropriate to a minister." It also reported that 70 percent had counseled at least one woman who had had intercourse with another minister.”  See http://www.infidelity-etc.com/index.php/4.

Consider pornography.   As reported in an article by Kenny Luck on Pastors.com, in 2007 70% of Christians admitted to struggling with pornography in their daily lives.  And you guessed it, that was picked up and report by CNN.  In another poll taken in August of 2006, 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women admitted an addiction to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants said they struggled with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis. (See also ChristiaNet poll reported by Marketwire.com).   In December of 2000, the National Coalition to Protect Children and Families surveyed 5 Christian Campuses to see how the next generation of believers was doing with sexual purity, and they found that 48% of males admitted to current porn use; 68% of males said they intentionally viewed a sexually explicit site at [their Christian] school.

Roger Charman of Focus on the Family's Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior. A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event.  In a 2000 Christianity Today survey, 33% of clergy admitted to having visited a sexually explicit Web site. Of those who had visited a porn site, 53% had visited such sites “a few times” in the past year, and 18% visit sexually explicit sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week.  Out of 81 pastors surveyed (74 males 7 female), 98% had been exposed to porn; 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website.  (See National Coalition survey of pastors, Seattle (April 2000).)  In his book, "Men's Secret Wars", Patrick Means reveals a confidential survey of evangelical pastors and church lay leaders. Sixty-four percent of these Christian leaders confirm that they are struggling with sexual addiction or sexual compulsion including, but not limited to use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activity.  34% of female readers of Today's Christian Woman's online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn in a recent poll.  In March of 2002 Rick Warren’s (author of the Purpose Driven life) Pastors.com website conducted a survey on porn use of 1351 pastors: 54% of the pastors had viewed Internet pornography within the last year, and 30% of these had visited within the last 30 days.  From another source, 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home. (See Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003.)  

These two areas alone, intimacy apart from marriage and pornography, create much of the temptation that leads to unintended pregnancies, which lead to abortion.  The result of the lack of self governance in these areas is personal devastation.  It is community devastation as well.  So what is the solution? 

 A clean heart is one’s integrity.  In 2 Corinthians 1, the Apostle Paul expressed his dismay with the Corinthians, and exhorted them to self governance and personal discipline because they were indwelt by Christ, but were not acting like it.  Instead, they were grieving him deeply, so much so that he could not bear the pain of visiting them.  But he clarified the forgiveness available to the repentant sinner in 2 Corinthians 2.
 Genuine Repentance is Necessary.  Involvement with anything that compromises your integrity, or corrupts your heart requires repentance.   In Psalm 51:1-9, King David comes to terms with his own sin.  Verse 10 begs for the creation of a clean heart, a pure heart, and the renewal of a steadfast spirit.  Only then can forgiveness and mercy be appropriated.

Forgiveness & Mercy are Available.  I John 1:9 clarifies these facts, stating that when we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  He will not cast you from His presence; and He will renew the joy you ought to have in Christ (Psalm 51:11-12). When you confess and experience genuine repentance, you experience real forgiveness, real mercy, being spared what you really deserve, and instead can experience new joy in Christ.  This is the joy of a clean heart.  Only these can bring an end to abortion.
A clean heart is the heart of the life issue.  A clean heart is at the foundation of family restoration.  A clean heart enjoys relationships, maintains that clean heart with genuine repentance and a changed life on a moment by moment basis.  In this manner the Christian community will produce less abortion.   Our future depends on it. 


  1. In keeping with physical purity as well as purity of mind, I would like to challenge women to consciously consider how they dress and how it affects men. When a woman wears a revealing top or a short skirt, men are going to look. What an injustice you are doing to yourself and to the men in your life by leading them down the path of a sinful, impure mind!

    Opponents say the men should be strong enough to look the other way or not stare. I say, don't give them the opportunity. If a man caused you to falter, how would you feel? Women are doing this daily and knowingly.

    Your bodies are sacred, women. Treat them as such. Even if you got it, don't flaunt it, because ALL WOMEN HAVE IT. Just as you would like your future spouse to be pure, be pure in your dress so as not to cause others to falter.

    It is something that IS in your control- don't lead them into temptation.

  2. A pure heart is absolutely crucial for family restoration and just being able to live life in general. As a new Christian who previously indulged in impurity, I understand how devastating pornography and lust can be to the person engaging in the activity, and how this activity can have a substantial affect on the people whom this person associates with.

    As a Christian who has struggled with sexual impurity, I will say that lust and pornography are mere symptoms of a much deeper issue and it is not uncommon for men and women who come to know Christ later in life to continue to struggle with these addictions. The problem stems from broken experiences and events that people experience from a very young age, such as continual rejection and abandonment. These often traumatizing experiences lead to a broken belief system about who God is and who we are. Therefore, the issue is really one of identity.

    From my experience, I would often turn to sexual impurity because I did not really understand how much Father loved me. I believe it is possible for a person to be saved but still not fully understand his/her position in Christ and that it is Who her/she belong to that defines him. As long as we feel that we can't turn to God for love and affection, we will look for it somewhere else and for many people pornography serves as a perfect counterfeit. However, once we let the Father heal those wounds that took root earlier in our lives, we can then begin to renew our minds and be set free from the power of lust and begin to restore family relationships.