What do you do when someone you know tells you they disagree with your pro-life views? For many of us, advocating for the lives of the unborn is more than a charitable cause. It’s a passionate issue, one that likely aligns with our views on human dignity and rights. This can make it difficult to have a conversation with someone on the opposing side. Often, our frustrations and need for them to see things our way can create obstacles in our dialogue. Sometimes, it is not merely what we are saying that persuades others to our point of view. It is how we say it that reaches people’s hearts and changes minds. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Whom you would change you must first love, and they must know that you love them.” We must always keep this in mind during conversations about abortion.
At Caring Network, we communicate the truth about life through loving grace. We extend compassion to mothers and fathers experiencing the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy. By offering free services and confidential care, we embody Christ’s love in our outreach. Our mission has continued to be successful for almost 40 years now. This is because we understand in order to win hearts, we must be welcoming in our approach. Join us now in our ministry to promote life through gentleness and kindness!
How Can I Share My Pro-Life Values With a Tender Heart?
We’ve all been there when arguing on an issue we’re passionate about. The conversation intensifies, voices raise, and when we see an opening to make a witty zinger, we take it. We can easily win the abortion debate by having the sharpest arguments and the most clever comebacks. But does this bring us closer to helping someone understand why we stand for life? Instead of leading someone to think critically on what it means to be pro-life, have we pushed them further away because of our arguing?
Obviously, we’re filled with love for the unborn, and we want others to feel this way as well. How can we ensure our convictions do not override our compassion for others?
1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you. Yet do it with gentleness and reverence.”
Pro-life apologist Stephanie Gray is a seasoned speaker and advocate against abortion. Through the thousands of interactions she’s had with others on the topic, Gray is experienced at confronting opposition with understanding. She does not seek to prove the validity of her view by dominating the discussion. Rather, she utilizes several tactics to extend grace to those who disagree, just as God does with us.
Understand Through Questions
In her book, Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth, Gray uses Luke 10:25 as a guiding reference. In this verse, Jesus is asked by a lawyer what he can do to inherit eternal life. Instead of providing a direct answer, Jesus asks questions to draw information out of the lawyer. This transformative technique allowed the lawyer to find the answer he needed on his own. It was not pushed on him.
The same thing applies when we’re talking to someone we know who supports abortion, or is contemplating having one. By asking direct questions and listening to the answer, we can help others find the clarity they need to embrace our position for life. Seeking to understand helps us see why someone may not share our view about abortion. There may be a deep, personal story attached to their view. Through engaging dialogue, we can slowly encourage others on their journey to see the truth.
Remember to Empathize
Gray challenges people in her book to remember a time when you did something wrong or felt embarrassed. During these experiences, she asks us to think about the reactions from others, and how they made us feel. If they responded with anger or scorn, then it’s likely we behaved in a negative way in order to alleviate shameful feelings.
It’s the same when we speak to others about abortion, Gray says. People may seem angry when the topic comes up, but this is likely a mask for other emotions. What lies beneath may be sadness. Or they may feel insecure as they realize the flaws in their argument. Gray calls on us to remember our own feelings during a time where people’s reactions caused us pain. Did this make us feel good about ourselves, or did it push us into an emotional retreat?
“Then remember the times someone showed you compassion, grace, kindness, gentleness, and understanding when you had painful realizations, embarrassment, shame, or felt alone, and be that person to the souls you encounter,” Gray instructs.
Being alone in a crisis can be terrifying. But as a pro-life advocate, you have the opportunity to minister and share the joy of life by offering support. The conversation about abortion may be difficult, but you can demonstrate your commitment to the cause by partnering with us. Volunteer, pray, or donate to show those around you how much you love the unborn and the women facing an unplanned pregnancy. There are plenty of ways you can extend the truth through loving grace. If you’d like to learn how, reach out to us today!
Stephanie Gray. Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth. Life Cycle Books (2015).