Toni Braxton said she believes God’s payback for her previous abortion was to give her son autism. In the singer’s new book she opens up about an abortion she had before in 2001 before she was married. Braxton said the abortion has haunted her through the years and caused her to wonder if her second son’s autism diagnosis was her punishment for the procedure. More than anything, Toni says, she is ashamed of herself for going through with the procedure.
Braxton was raised in a very religious household that impressed upon her that God rules with an iron fist and judges people for sins they commit. The songstress describes her childhood as being reared in a very strict household. Braxton says she could not wear pants and during Lent season she was forced to fast for two weeks. The church her family attended forced students to memorize at least 25 Bible scriptures each week; many times she had to neglect doing her homework in order to accomplish this mandate.
In her new book entitled, Unbreak My Heart, Braxton explores many of these issues. She deals with her belief that God may also be punishing her by her parents’ divorce as well as her own lupus diagnosis. Toni, who has experienced a lot of suffering lately, recently lost the rights to many of her songs after declaring bankruptcy twice. She maintained the rights to Unbreak My Heart, which is why she chose to title her autobiography after this song
Braxton wonders if this is just a coincidence but noted her strict and religious upbringing has left a huge impact on her and she no longer wants to suppress what she feels. The motto of her household while growing up was, “Shut your mouth and suppress your feelings and opinions.”
The sad reality for Braxton, just like so many others, is she relates God to a hard taskmaster as opposed to a loving father who wants the best for his children. Toni is one of many with the belief that God is cold and distant; only dealing with his creation by rules and logistics.
There is a scripture in the Bible, Deuteronomy 23, which states when a child was born a bastard under the law he (or she) could not go into the “House of the Lord” because they were not connected to a father. The theory at that time was a disconnected child would never really understand who God is because they had no knowledge of a father’s love.
There are a lot of people who know God as a higher power but not a loving parent. Braxton is the perfect example of so many Christians who have failed to recognize that God is not some judge waiting to sentence his creation instead he is a father who loves and embraces his children.
These believers carry the ideal if they mess up God will get mad at them, and in some form, curse them. A true father does not love because of what his child does; he simply loves because they are his children. When a child falls and gets dirty their parent does not stop loving them, instead they pick them up while they are still dirty and immediately tries to ease their discomfort.
This is the mark of a loving father and sadly far too many people, like Toni, do not know God as such; they think God acts like the people in their circle of “love.” When they mess up they believe God turns his back on them and replaces his love with judgment.
There is another verse in the Bible which reads, “While we were still in sin, Christ died for the ungodly.” This seems to describe a God who does not love people more because they are “saved” or because they attend church. He loves all his children.
Jesus also addressed this topic very directly in the ninth chapter of John when he and his disciples come across a blind man. His disciples asked him,
Rabbi who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life (John 9:2–3).
This seems to speak loud and clear – something else was going on in this man’s suffering other than retributive exchange. The man’s affliction was not evidence of a curse or punishment. Life happens and it is never void of purpose. The side effect of this “judgmental” type of belief is it implies if a person experiences suffering in some way, it is a result of some hidden sin.
Toni Braxton said she believes God is somehow using her son’s autism as payback for an abortion she had is 2001. The singer said the abortion has haunted her for a long time and caused her to wonder if she was being punished for her sin. The truth is grace fundamentally rejects this theory.
Opinion by: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)