Every woman who comes to the abortion center is a unique human being, created by a holy God in His image, and her soul is precious to God. When working as sidewalk counselors it is critical that we keep this in mind. If we don’t feel genuine compassion, concern, and Godly love for the women on this destructive path, it is unlikely the women will respond to our pro-life pleas.
While it is easy to become angry at the evil of abortion, it is important to focus on our goal as sidewalk counselors. We want the women to come and talk with us for an extended period. We want to offer them calm, confident truth and help that will lead them to a choice for life. I believe at some level every one of them feels guilt and shame, however masterfully they cover it and deceive even themselves.
They will naturally flock to those who support what they are doing but are not so likely to want to talk to those who are seeking to dissuade them from aborting. If we are to entice them to speak with us in the face of so much against us, we need to be approachable. If we are feeling indignation and anger, it is unlikely we will be transmitting an aura of approachability.
However, we are clearly called to speak the truth. In a previous article, we mention briefly 3 talking points to touch on as you seek to convey truth to an abortion-minded woman. A sidewalk counselor may be the single voice speaking on behalf of the baby and God’s clear commands regarding the sanctity of human life. The balance of truth and love is not always easy to strike.
As a sidewalk counselor, I have found that there are some methods of interaction that seem to bear more fruit than others. First, asking questions and then prayerfully truly listening to the responses are key. The woman must know she is being heard. Whether or not we agree with her reasons for aborting, she feels her reasons are valid. We cannot offer genuine compassion if we don’t understand the situation.
Questions to the woman offer her the opportunity to express what has driven her to such a desperate place. Well crafted questions can also lead the woman to draw her own conclusion of right vs. wrong.
Some of my favorite questions that spark understanding are below:
- When did God start loving you? When did He start loving your baby?
- What gives a human being value?
- Should morals be dictated by circumstances?
- What would God have you do?
- Have you prayed about this?
- What does God say about the life you carry in your womb?
- Do you believe in Jesus?
- What does Jesus say about obeying Him if He is your Lord?
- If you are refusing to follow God’s clear word, is Jesus really Lord of your life? Does that concern you?
- If you are willfully continuing to disregard God after you know the truth, are you asking forgiveness or permission to sin?
There are of course thousands of questions we can ask as sidewalk counselors. I search for clues that will help me in knowing what to ask. That is a second key component of encouraging women to talk with us. Look for clues. Sometimes it will be a telling bumper sticker. If there is a church or spiritual message on a bumper sticker, I always use that to frame my questions.
It may be some object dangling from the car mirror or even a tattoo can spark a great line of questioning. Or maybe it is even their name.
I remember meeting a woman and our discussion had just begun when I asked her name. She said it was, “Destiny.” That was a perfect chance for me to springboard into a discussion of what God’s destiny for her might be. She agreed it was likely not abortion.
Asking the women what goals in life they have can also be a turning point in the discussion. It is almost scary how many women tell me that their life’s goal is to be a nurse. I ask them what kind of nurse. They want to deliver babies. Seriously. I hear this all the time!
When they tell me that, I don’t even need to respond. I just raise my eyebrows and use a “pregnant” silence. They invariably look down and say, “I know…ironic, isn’t it?”
A third important point is whenever possible, let them convict themselves through the conclusions to which the questions lead. It is always more powerful and life changing when someone comes to their own conclusion rather than being told the answer.
For example, I often ask, “What do you carry in your womb?” Most will admit it is a baby. I ask them if it is alive. Most admit it is. I ask them if that baby caused the situation they face. They usually admit they caused the situation themselves. Then I ask them if the baby is innocent. They agree it is. Finally, I ask if the innocent baby is the one that deserves death.
Another key point is to use stories to get your point across. Jesus did this ALL the time. His parables are amazing examples of painting a picture that poignantly expresses truth. A recent encounter with a woman who chose life reminds me of this truth. She was very abortion-minded and while I counseled car-side, she kept looking at her phone. At one point she tried to silence a call, and struggled to do so because the phone had a broken screen.
I told her I understood how hard it was to use the phone with the broken screen. She agreed. I asked her if she was the one who broke the screen or did the phone just jump out of her hand? She laughed and said she had dropped the phone carelessly. I asked her if she now planned to throw it down as hard as she could on the cement to complete the destruction.
She said no. I asked if the phone could be fixed? She agreed it could, at great cost. She was willing to do so however because the phone was valuable. I then asked if she saw that her pregnancy was similarly not the fault of the baby. It was sin that had led to the pregnancy and now she was in a hard, broken situation. She could either continue on that path of destruction, or she could let us help her fix it so she could care properly for that very valuable child.
The wonderful blessing of God is if we walk in obedience to Him, bathe in His word, and submit to His call to minister to abortion-minded women, He will equip us. These tips are meant to help you feel more confident as a sidewalk counselor in approaching and engaging women at that last-ditch moment between life and death. Be confident that God will steer you in His direction and He is ultimately responsible for how the women receive the message.