Scotty Vaughn, a cowboy singer for the Colorado Wranglers, describes himself as a husband, father, grandfather—and a man who God had to "take to the mat" to get his attention.
When 19-year-old Scotty didn't feel ready to be a father, and his family and friends told him that an unborn baby "is not life," Scotty agreed. "It's just what I'd always been told," he says. So he pressured his wife to have an abortion even though she didn't want it.
Scotty didn't know that abortion would take him to a place of brokenness unlike anything he had ever experienced—and would prevent him from leading his wife and children the way God intended.
Abortion destroys a man's ability to lead his family morally and spiritually
When a man doesn't protect his unborn child, either by passively watching the woman in his life have an abortion, or by forcing her to abort, it can undermine his confidence in his manhood. Why? Because God created men to be protectors, just as women are nurturers. To protect is a deep, God-given desire; and when a man understands he has violated God's principle of protection through abortion, it can erode his confidence to lead his family, both morally and spiritually.
"I didn't feel that I could tell my children what to do because I hadn't protected my unborn child. I'd failed morally [and as a protector] so what right did I have to parent them?"
Scotty also says that the most important battle a man fights is the one he fights spiritually for those he loves. Unfortunately, when a man violates God's law through abortion, his confidence is also impaired to engage in spiritual battle. "And if a man doesn't get into the battle to fight for his family, the battle doesn't go away but Satan just gets to do whatever he wants," says Scotty.
So how can a man take back the authority that God has given him to lead his family both morally and spiritually after abortion? Even though it can be a challenge, Scotty says a man needs to own his sin and receive God's forgiveness.
A man needs to own his sin and be willing to go to places of desperation
For many men, admitting they've been wrong can feel threatening. Fortunately, God doesn't ask a man to own (or admit to) his sin to keep him trapped in a place of pain. Rather, men need to own their sin of abortion because it's the only way to move past the pain of abortion.
"Men have got to own that piece of their life that is hard…You have to own your sin or your sin will own you. Your sin will own you either by keeping you in denial or in fear."
Part of living in fear for Scotty meant not being vulnerable with his family or friends. For years, he stayed in relationship with a group of Christian men he admired. He was certain that if he admitted what he'd done, that they would reject him. When he finally did come clean about his abortion experience, he found grace in the community of men that God had given him.
Owning his sin also meant asking his ex-wife for her forgiveness for the abortion, and when the time was right, he admitted to his children that abortion was part of his story.
There is forgiveness and grace available for the man who will own the sin of abortion
The first time God prompted Scotty to face the abortion he didn't know there was joy on the other side of pain, so he fought with God. But when he finally admitted his wrongdoing, Scotty was able to receive forgiveness, grace and comfort.
"It's a lot easier to stay in denial than it is to go to your places of desperation. Thankfully, God will fill every inch of a man's brokenness with His grace if a man will own his sin. God doesn't call men to a place of desperation to leave them there. Desperation is just a stop along the way to the joy of the Lord. God wants to give men a joy and a peace that they haven't known and that you can't know until you are willing to embrace your desperation and brokenness."
When Scotty was willing to cooperate with God, the Lord revealed to him that the baby was a little girl. "He [God] allowed me to name her. I named her Janey." Scotty says that God often allows him to see a picture of her in his arms and he knows that his sin is redeemed for God's glory. "I have the opportunity to make Janey's life count for something now even though she's not on the earth." Through Janey's abortion, Scotty has also received a calling to minister to other men who have had similar experiences—and he is becoming the man God has called him to be to lead his wife and children.
Shana Schutte is a freelance writer, author and speaker living in Colorado Springs, CO and the founder of Run to God Ministries.