(This article was written by Rebekah Dyer and original appeared at Human Defense.)
Abortion is not an easy topic to discuss for many reasons. Opinions and passions are strong on both sides, and conversations can easily turn into tense, angry arguments with both people becoming frustrated and feeling misunderstood. In addition to the many disagreements about the morality of abortion, there are many difficult emotions surrounding the issue because millions of women and men have been personally affected by a decision to abort their preborn child. Still, many others do not feel equipped to engage on the issue due to a lack of knowledge concerning the subject.
Whatever your current feelings are about talking about abortion, it is important to realize that everyone speaks something about abortion whether they realize it or not. Our actions speak much louder than our words. Complacent lives speak very loudly. You can pretend to be neutral and try to stay on the sidelines to avoid the conflict, but important moral matters do not give us the luxury of evading the issues successfully. Knowing this, we are left with the responsibility to speak to issues of serious moral concern, especially when other people’s lives are at stake.
Many people that have had an abortion live with deep regret and remorse. They are suffering and feel broken over that decision they made. Others seem hardened to the decision and reveal no guilt or regret for having the abortion. A myriad of emotions surround and entangle this topic, but that does not mean we cannot effectively discuss the issue with grace and compassion. Every person you come in contact with is deeply hurting from something whether that is an abortion, a break up, divorce, a death in the family, disappointment, job loss, rejection, depression, or anything else this world throws at us. We are all suffering. When you come to the abortion controversy with this understanding, it should shape your demeanor when you get the privilege to speak for the voiceless.
The goal in conversations and debates on abortion is to win the hearts and minds of people so they can understand the value of the preborn. Your purpose should never be to destroy the other person and leave them speechless. As I have been active in speaking about abortion, I have learned the most valuable and productive conversations occur when the pro-lifer remains calm, kind, and focused. When the other side gets angry, yells at you, or is demeaning and unkind, repay them with gentleness and respect. No one is attracted to the person who angrily attempts to get you to adopt their position. We are ambassadors in this world for Jesus Christ and our approach to dealing with abortion should reflect that reality.
Many of the arguments used to support abortion assume the unborn are not one of us and it is our job to gently point that out as we persuasively make the case for life. The preborn are our neighbors, and they are being led to slaughter every day. Remember, the only differences between the embryo you and I once were and the adult you and I are today are size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. None of those things grant human beings value. If they did, human rights would come in degrees because those characteristics vary from person to person inside and outside the womb.
Remember that when we engage in discussions about abortion the other person we are speaking to is another human being. Don’t be in a hurry to make the case for life. Take time to show the other person we actually care about them, their concerns, and their situation. If we slow down and take time to know the person we are disagreeing with, we will have many more opportunities to not only proclaim the value of human life but also to share the gospel with them.
People need to know that God Himself walked among us on this Earth taking the form of man and lived the perfect, sinless life we could not. He willingly laid His life down at the cross so that we could live and be given the righteousness of God. His glorious resurrection and ascension three days later grants us forgiveness from our sins and gives us peace with God.
As we attempt to reach people and change their hearts and minds about abortion, our conversations need to emanate from a genuine love and concern for the well-being of the people we speak to. Our motivations behind speaking out are important and reveal what is in our hearts. Many of us are probably too familiar with the professed Christian pro-lifer who speaks out in anger and condemnation against those who support abortion. Our discourse on this emotional issue should come from a deep fear and love for Jesus Christ that shows itself in how we treat people who disagree with us. Knowing the fear of Lord, we are called to persuade those around us of the beauty, value, and dignity in every person. By the grace of God, we can all do that.