The Right Thing to Do
Rev. John Bright
Virginia Annual Conference
1983—that is all I can remember about the date. We were sitting in the
waiting room of the “Women’s Clinic” in Roanoke, Virginia. I was there with
my girlfriend, because it was the right thing to do. I had paid for half the
abortion, because it was the right thing to do. I had been sexually active,
because it felt like the right thing to do.
So why did that little voice keep saying,
“This feels like the wrong thing to do”?
You would never have seen me engaged in a
heated discussion of this topic in college, in seminary or in the church. No
way! The few times I was backed into a corner, out came the official stand
from the Social Principles, with one addition: God is able to forgive
anything. I believed that applied to everyone but me.
In 2001, while I was serving a two-point
charge on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, God called me to an extended fast
from solid food. I asked God to reveal anything in my life that separated
us. It was a life-changing experience as God showed me how I remained in
bondage to guilt and shame for things in my past. I had the assurance that
God had forgiven me. These were chains that I had forged and chose to wear.
God delivered me from my ‘life sentence.’
My new-found freedom led me to the local
Crisis Pregnancy Center and a director with a caring heart for United
Methodist preachers. It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship between
one of my churches and the center.
God also called me to preach a series of
sermons on the topic of abortion. It was with much fear and trembling that I
obeyed. The first two weeks were spent comparing the Biblical view with that
of the culture. Then on week three, I would share my personal experience.
That Sunday, as I walked into the pulpit, a group of about twenty teenagers
from the local UM camp were sitting there. Many questions raced through my
mind, but I found the Holy Spirit urging me to preach the sermon as it was
As those youth filed past me after the
service, many would not even speak. Then I noticed two of them had stayed
back until everyone else left the sanctuary. These young women told me of a
friend back home who was pregnant and considering abortion. They described
the agony of having no words of hope to give her—until now. They thanked me
and left. As they left, I realized that God had called me to speak out, not
to be liked but to bring hope to those in need.
I know the “devastating damage” of abortion,
both personally and professionally. Abortion was intended to help and free
women, but it has instead brought pain and misery into the lives of many
people, male and female. As followers of Jesus Christ, and as The United
Methodist Church, we must offer more than a quick fix: we must love them
Besides offering help during pregnancy,
many Crisis Pregnancy Centers also offer post-abortion counseling. For
someone to talk to about your abortion experience, look in the phone
directory for a CPC in your area, or contact one of the organizations