Friday, May 13, 2011

Standing Tall

This week Indiana became the first state to stop tax-payer dollars from going to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. This is a step in the right direction and a great victory for Life! I want to thank not only  the government leaders who voted for the bill that defunded abortion in Indiana, but I want to also thank everyone who called their representatives, emailed their friends and family, those who prayed and all those who made an effort to protect life….thank you….bless you. All things truly are possible with Christ.

Of course, there are those who don’t share my excitement about this news. There have been a few who have made it very clear to me just how upset they are by it actually. People take this issue very seriously and very personal. But I think we all should take abortion seriously and personal because it has serious consequences and we all have been personally affected by abortion in some way or another. However, I don't think either side of the argument should feel entitled to act mean or hateful to someone.

"You can stand tall without standing on someone, you can be a victor without victims."

When faced with opposition we should respond, not react. I have had my share of ugly encounters where the discussion turns into the other person slinging personal attacks and resorting to name calling instead of sticking to the facts and responding respectfully. I’ve seen this happen on both sides of the argument. So I thought it might be helpful to share with you some things I’ve learned after many debates with people on this issue.  Hopefully this will help you if you are faced with opposition yourself so that you will be able to deliver the message of truth with confidence and with love.
1.       Know the truth. Research all the facts. In any debate, the facts are your armament. You want to be prepared by having all the facts to back up your argument. Don’t rely on one source…fact check with multiple reliable sources.  Commit these facts to your memory so you can be prepared to share them when challenged. If you’re unsure of an answer, don’t just make one up, it’s OK to say, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I will find out and get back to you.” Over time you will become more confident and more proficient. Stay informed by educating yourself.

2.       Speak the truth in love. The truth is on our side. All we have to do is present the facts and let the facts speak for themselves. Always speak the truth in love.Name calling and personal attacks will only cloud the facts and doesn't do anything positive for your character. Ignore any disrespectful or dishonest comments they may make toward you or about you. They’re just trying to distract you from sharing the truth. Only respond with facts and reason.

3.       Stay on topic. If the other person starts to get off topic, always bring them back to the core of the issue which is: What is abortion?  After defining what abortion is/what it does, then reaffirm why abortion is wrong. This is the heart of the issue and should remain the focus.

The pre-born is a human person (and will exist as you and I unless we end their existence).

Killing a human person is wrong (intentionally removing someone from existence is wrong).

Abortion is killing a human person (abortion is intentionally ending someone’s existence).

Abortion is wrong. 

4.     Don’t give up. Your opposition will try anything and everything to get you to give up and to doubt yourself.  It’s natural to want to avoid confrontation. We should desire peace and understanding. But sometimes we must defend. We must stand for truth even when it is uncomfortable. The opposition is hoping you will give in to fear and discomfort or that you will not speak up in the first place. They want the truth to be silenced.

A friend of mine shared some encouraging words with me that I am always reminded of when facing a difficult discussion where the other person is being mean and hateful. His words were this: “Never be ashamed, they certainly aren’t”. Others aren’t afraid to speak up and neither should we be afraid.  Don’t let anyone intimidate you out of standing up for what is right. If we don’t share the truth, then how will anyone ever hear it? As long as you are sharing the truth in love you shouldn't be afraid or ashamed.

5.      Live it. It’s one thing to say you’re pro-life, it’s another thing to live pro-life. We should be doing something to promote and protect life each and every day. Whether it is voting for pro-life people and laws, praying outside of clinics for the vulnerable women considering abortion and their unborn children, donating our time or money to life-affirming groups, considering adoption, providing families in need with valuable resources so they can succeed or speaking to friends and family about the issue of abortion.  We can’t do everything but we can do something. We must do something. Doing nothing only allows the injustice to continue.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” -Elie Weisel, holocaust survivor

I hope this was helpful for those who may be feeling overwhelmed or fearful of taking a stand about abortion. Believe me, I know that it can sometimes feel like you’re all alone in this battle, especially when you’re having a one on one debate with someone. But you are not alone. For the first time in history the majority of Americans self-identify themselves as pro-life. That means there are more people who agree with you than disagree with you. And those who disagree may have never heard all the facts and they need to hear them from you. You can change their heart and mind about abortion. I’ve seen it happen many times. And by changing hearts and minds you are saving lives. Not just saving babies, but saving women, men and families from the emotional and physical damage of abortion. 

Thank you to everyone working toward a culture where we respect and protect life at all stages. Your efforts are invaluable.

"It's easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one brave enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it."  —A.A. Hodge

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