This is a story that happens to all of us at some point if we spend any time at all as a sidewalk counselor in front of an abortion center. It is common and it is also easy to become discouraged when this happens. The reason for this article is to tell the story as it unfolded for me. I have been doing this for 10 years and, yet, this story ended in a way that I wish it had not.
I was standing up the street away from all the craziness of the abortion center driveway with the hordes of opposition countering our attempts to reach the women. It was a fruitful post, and I was able to have many conversations, give out a lot of literature, and many cars did stop for me.
A young couple stopped and rolled down their window right away. I immediately handed them our literature and asked if they were on their way to the abortion center. They said that they were. I then told them that I was with the ministry Love Life, and we were there to help them no matter what struggles they faced. I pointed to the mobile ultrasound RV parked on the curb and told them we could give them a free ultrasound immediately and show them their little baby’s beating heart. I assured them that the baby’s heart was beating if the woman had missed her period. I asked how far along she was and she told me she thought around 7 to 8 weeks. I immediately went into describing the development of a baby that age, listing some milestones.
The woman was leafing through our literature. The man was looking straight ahead. Occasionally, they would glance at each other as I was speaking and giggle. I knew I was facing a difficult battle from the hardness in their attitude.
Then I asked them if they knew God. They said they did. I asked if they loved God. They said they did. I asked if Jesus was their Lord. They said He was. Then I asked what they would do with a verse like Luke 6:46 where Jesus Himself asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?”
They told me that He was their Lord. Then I said, “Really? Are you obeying the 6th commandment?” And the woman asked, ”What is the 6th commandment?”
I told her: “Thou shall not murder.” Immediately, her face fell as she looked at the picture of the aborted fetus in our pamphlet. I saw beads of sweat start to appear on the man’s forehead. I asked her if that was a human being she carried in her womb. They both agreed it was. I asked them after listing all the developmental milestones if they felt that baby was alive and growing and a little person. They agreed it was.
Then the man told me something I hear over and over again. He knew it was wrong, but God would forgive them. I told them that I agreed God was a forgiving God, but if they were purposefully doing what God had specifically told them not to do which they knew was wrong, they were making a mockery of the concept of forgiveness and repentance. I also told them a story that I often tell. A man goes and has sex with the next door neighbor because he knows his wife is a forgiving woman and he tells her that beforehand. He tells her he’ll be right back and say he is sorry. I asked the woman if that would be OK. They both said nothing but shook their heads and looked down. Then I said, “Well, that’s what you’re asking of God.”
I asked them if they were married, figuring I may as well hit on the purity message as long as I was at it. They said they were not married, but they would be soon. And I said, “Marriage is a big commitment. When do you think you start learning to honor commitments? I assume that when you conceived this child it was an act of love between both of you. You know that sex can lead to a baby being conceived. What makes you think that if you can’t honor the commitment you have to that child now, you’ll be able to honor a commitment of marriage? See, we learn to honor commitments during the hard times. A commitment during easy times is easy. Marriage commitments fall apart in the hard times.”
I asked them if they were guaranteed tomorrow. They agreed they were not. I reminded them of the verses that say today is the day of salvation. Today has enough troubles of its own and we should not worry about tomorrow. So if they only had the next few minutes of life, should they spend it honoring God or honoring Satan?
They said, “Honoring God.”
“Well then, your next step, which might be your last step, should be one that honors God. What will that be?”
They were quiet and I said, “I think you know the answer to that. Is going in that abortion center honoring God?”
They said it was not. I asked them what would be honoring God. And they said going on our free mobile ultrasound unit. Then I said, “That’s great! I agree. Let me take you on there right now. No matter what you face, I know our ministry can link you with resources to help you including a mentor who will walk alongside you for a minimum of a year.”
By now we had been talking at least half an hour, maybe 40 minutes. I could not believe that they did not drive away. It was clear that God had gotten a hold of them and they were becoming convicted of His truths.
I had not asked them to pull over because almost every time I do that, people drive on and usually end up going into the abortion center. But at this point the woman told me, “No, my mind is made up.”
I was shocked. I told her, “Young lady, after all that you have just agreed with me about, you are still going to keep that appointment with death? Following what Satan would have you do and not what God would have you do?”
At that point, the daughter of the abortion center owner pulled up behind the car. She started laying on her horn. She could easily have gone around them, and I waved her on to go around them, but she did not. She rolled down her window, swearing at me and kept blaring her horn.
In the midst of that, I asked the young couple if I could pray with them, and they agreed. I prayed “at them,” reminding them of the major points we had touched upon and calling upon the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts. When I finished the prayer, the abortion center director was still honking and screaming. I told them that she was upset because if they stopped and talked to me and changed their minds, she would lose out on the profits from their abortion. Now I did ask them if they would pull over so we could talk further. Predictably, they took that opportunity to drive away and drive into the abortion center.
Below are the things I want to be sure that every sidewalk counselor hears. These are some important takeaways from this sad story:
- Experienced and new counselors will face this situation. I’ve been doing this 10 years, but my experience is no guarantee that moms will choose life.
- It is virtually impossible not to be discouraged in the face of fighting so hard for a baby’s life and giving all you have, and the mother still aborts the child.
- It is very easy to think: I gave my best, and my best was not enough.
- This can lead to counselors deciding they should not be in this ministry and giving up.
- We must remember that our best is not sufficient. But God’s best always is. We are called to do our best, but then leave the results to God. We can affect our behavior and heart. We cannot force others to change.
- Ultimately, we have to trust that God called us to do what we do as well as we can. Then, we have to trust that He will take over at this point.
- Remember this scenario happens to all of us. Do not let it result in you believing you were not cut out to be a sidewalk counselor.
- Think of the positives of the encounter: Biblical truth was presented, the truth about fetal development was presented, the truth about the grievous and dangerous sin they are engaging in was presented, and the Holy Spirit was already convicting their hearts.
“The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:5-8).