JOHN PEARRELL: God forgives even the greatest of sins

Jan. 22 will mark the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Since that landmark decision, 55 million innocent lives have been ruthlessly murdered on the altar of convenience.

How can we, with straight faces, decry the horror of Newtown, Conn., while at the same time remaining silent while 55 million, and counting, lives have been "legally" murdered in ways that are too horrifying to mention in this column (and yes, studies have shown that these unborn babies feel the pain of whichever method is invoked to take their lives)?

While we look for "more humane" ways to carry out death sentences of those who have committed unspeakable crimes, we stay silent regarding the reality of the intense pain these innocents feel in the last few agonizing minutes of their lives.

While some activists call for compassion for poor baby seals, the activists who call for compassion for poor baby humans are portrayed as radical nutcases who somehow want to take women back into the dark ages.

A study of history reveals an interesting fact regarding the rise and fall of all the great world civilizations. The common link of civilizations' demises across time is that each world civilization began its decline when it began abusing its children.

Those who support abortive practices do so claiming that a woman's right to chose is a higher principle than the protection of an innocent life, that a woman has the right to decide how to treat her own body.

That would fine if she were deciding for her own body; the problem is, her decision affects the body of another person altogether.

Reminds me of the story of the chicken and the pig. The two were walking down the street when the chicken says to the pig, "Hey, let's stop and get some breakfast." "Easy for you to say," responded the pig. "For you it's only a minor contribution, but it is total commitment on my part."

Those who champion their personal right over an innocent life seldom stop to realize the long-term psychological consequences that the decision to abort brings. I have counseled people who have struggled with guilt and regret for decades over their decision -- be it their own decision or one that was forced upon them by parents who wanted to save face in the community.

Let me conclude this column with a word to you.

A number of years ago now, I was the director at a camp that worked with hardened juvenile delinquents. One of the young men that was sent to me came with the caveat that he was a hopeless case and the only reason the YDC was sending him was that the staff was fed up with him, and wanted to get him "out of their hair for a while."

The camp that I worked at was a Christian camp, and we presented Christ to every child that came to us. Drew listened.

At the final campfire he stood up and said these words, "Fourteen months ago, my heart was burning hot like that campfire, and I killed a man. That man was my own brother. Although I will never get over the regret and sorrow I have for killing my brother, I know one thing: God has forgiven me."

Perhaps you are scarred by the memory of taking an innocent life. I want you to know God still loves you and He will completely forgive you if you will place your faith in Jesus Christ.

Like Drew, the regrets and sorrow will remain, but the crushing pressure of guilt can be removed.

John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org.