One of the scariest parts of sidewalk counseling is calling out to complete strangers to urge them to save their child from the barbaric death of abortion. Probably the most commonly voiced fear of new volunteers is: “I don’t know what to say,” followed by, “What if I say the wrong thing?”
We have discussed many times on this podcast the three key areas that we focus on when calling out to abortion-minded mothers:
What God has to say about that baby and the sanctity of life, the humanity of the baby, and resources.
We won’t spend time on this podcast with the specifics in each of these areas as we have already covered that in prior podcasts. Our focus for this one will be how to effectively call out and encourage moms to come talk with us.
What is our goal?
First, it is critical to think about what our purpose is in calling out. We are guaranteed to arouse anger, push-back, ridicule, and persecution. We better have a goal in mind that is worth all that trauma to our psyche!
Our first goal is to obey God. He calls us to speak in the face of injustice and harm to the vulnerable and defenseless. We must take action when innocent unborn lives are being led to the slaughter. But the next goal is to speak truth that might change a heart bent on destruction and rebellion from God to one that is life-affirming and turning to God.
As we have said many times, we cannot force or ordain the response to our message, but we are responsible for truthfully presenting the message. Our goal is to obey God and to speak truth in a winsome manner.
How to Call Out: Our Demeanor
The first important aspect of calling out to abortion-minded women is our demeanor. We should be smiling, friendly, waving, and inviting them by our expression and tone to engage with them. Despite the fact that what is happening in that abortion center is terrible, our focus needs to be how to attract people to come speak with us.
Our attitude should be one of assurance. We should be calm and confident that what we have to offer is well worth listening to. Our attitude should reflect that we know we have an answer they need, and that we are certain that the truths and help we are extending to them is the ONLY hope to their situation. We are offering the power and strength and truth of God Himself. There is nothing more powerful in the universe! Be bold and confident that you have the only help they will ever need.
There are so many things that we could talk about. This is why we focus on the three key talking points. The women who feel they need to kill their baby need to hear the key concepts that will change their minds, and ultimately, will change their lives. They need the truth of God’s love, His justice, His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace, and His commandments. The timing of when to present each of these truths can derail a discussion or provide hope at just the perfect moment.
For example, knowing God’s forgiveness is balm to a wounded, broken spirit. But to a defiant rebellious spirit, it can further fuel rebellion from God’s commands. (“He will forgive me anyway…why not just do what I want to do…and then say I am sorry?”) Therefore, be cognizant of the best timing for the concepts you are presenting. Be aware that a truth spoken at the wrong time can do more harm than good.
So how do we know what truth should be spoken when? In general, if women are calling on a truth of God to rationalize an ungodly act like abortion, that is not a good time to support that truth. It is counterproductive to speak only of God’s love and forgiveness when women are using that to justify their abortion. Speaking of God’s justice and of the truth of what it means to fully submit a life to God would be a better biblical truth to bring out at that moment.
Conversely, if a woman is so ashamed and defeated by past abortions that she is thinking, “What is just one more?”, it might be very important to talk about trusting God, becoming a new creation in Christ, and being washed clean in repentance and forgiveness.
My experience is that most new counselors tend to be heavy on the love and mercy of God when what abortion-minded women need to hear at that moment is the justice of God and the call to submission and trust in Him through obedience.
However, if we are too heavy-handed on the side of justice, we may shut down the conversation before it starts. That is why we like to balance our few seconds of calling out with the offer of help. Truth and mercy together have a powerful impact.
It is also good to know what the culture and the abortion center workers are telling these women. Satan is the father of lies and he is the one that is promoting the deception that makes abortion possible. I will often say, “Abortion is NOT normal. It is NOT normal for a mother to kill her baby. Abortion is NOT healthcare. Healthcare providers HEAL lives, not slaughter and dismember living human beings. Abortion is not SAFE. It kills babies and traumatizes women for life. God is forgiving but is not REQUIRED to forgive. Without repentance, there is no remission of sin, and a heart that willfully continues in sin after knowing the truth is NOT repentant.”
In other words, do not be afraid to speak explicitly in opposition to the lies being spewed by those who support abortion.
Be Familiar with Common Deceptions and Be Prepared with Facts
It is hard to counter the lies if you don’t know the lies that being told. A GREAT summary is provided by Randy Alcorn. It is very beneficial to be aware of common lies about abortion and the unborn baby and to have a ready answer to counter those lies. This is a good summary.
Be Familiar with Scripture to Support Life
The most important tool we have in calling out is the Holy Spirit and salient scripture to support our message. The more scripture we can easily recall and use in the varying situations we encounter, the more confident we will be when we talk with abortion-minded women.
One of the key points to know is abortion-minded women are focusing on their fears and the obstacles they face. They have taken their eyes off of Jesus, off of their faith, and put it on their fears. The story of Peter walking on the water when his eyes are on Jesus, but sinking when his eyes are on the storm is a GREAT analogy to present to abortion-minded women.
There are countless Biblical stories that we can apply to help paint a picture the women can relate to. However, if we don’t know the Bible, we cannot call upon this priceless asset when we need it. Personal stories that show how we have overcome are also powerful. Nonetheless, remember: when Jesus was being tempted by Satan for forty days, He overcame Satan with scripture.
BE IN THE WORD. KNOW THE WORD. STUDY THE WORD.
Rely on God
Ultimately, when you are calling out, you will realize you are not adequate in your own power to say what is needed to change a hard heart. Only God can do that. Be confident that if God has called you to this work, (and He has), He will enable you. Prepare in the ways we have discussed as best you can, and then trust God to give you what is needed at the right moment. He will.