February 25, 2013

by Kay L. Meyer

Why should we speak up and promote God’s word, the Gospel, and the life message to family, friends and those within the community? Why should we always be respectful and God pleasing as we speak up for life? God’s Word tells us to, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9). But God’s Word also says, “[I]n your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15).

Just as in witnessing of Christ, sometimes there can be a fine line between being rude and abrasive when we speak up for Christ and being patient, kind, and caring as we speak up for Christ. So, let’s speak up for life with gentleness and respect.

Certainly, we should always speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. And who is more in need of our help than innocent babies still in the womb? But, sometimes, the women are pressured into abortions by parents, boyfriends, and husbands.

Recently I was invited to join a group of Lutherans after church. I only knew two of the 10 people at the table and was mostly listening. I sat across the table from a woman I didn’t know. She said, “I just get SO ANGRY when I hear that a woman is going to get an abortion or has had one. If I had the chance I would tell her what I think of her.”

I responded, “I understand your anger and agree that abortion is wrong and sinful. But rather than getting angry at the woman who is contemplating an abortion or who has had one maybe we should find better ways to assist her and others like her. Many of the pregnant women are under tremendous pressure to have the abortion and need our help.”

I tried to tell her about Our Lady’s Inn (www.ourladysinn.org), a shelter for homeless women who are pregnant. It offers them so much more than a place to stay—it helps them with jobs, learning life skills, and gets them connected to important resources.

She wasn’t interested and went on ranting about women who have abortions. It was a very negative approach to speaking up for life. Her conversation, in my opinion, wasn’t helpful. So my suggestion is to be careful how we speak up for life. Try to encourage others (Philippians 2:1-4) rather than to condemn them or show anger toward them.

Of course, we must speak up for life. Over the years as I’ve worked in the pro-life area, I have become acquainted with teens, young women, and older women who have had abortions and needed help.

Let me introduce you to three women:

Jean was a young mother of two children when she got pregnant again. Her husband told her he would leave her if she didn’t get an abortion. He didn’t want a third child. As a stay-at-home mom she knew it was wrong but after some time and much pressure from her husband she had the abortion. It forever changed her life and helped her later in life to become a pro-life leader.

Some years later her 16-year-old daughter became pregnant. Jean lovingly walked with her daughter through her pregnancy and as she released the baby for adoption. They established an open adoption and were able to build a wonderful relationship with the adoptive parents and the baby. Jean and her daughter are in regular contact with her.

Today Jean is a shining light for life in today’s world! She always speaks up for life, but in a loving and caring way. For many years Jean volunteered for Lutherans For Life helping hundreds of people. She currently works part-time for Lutherans For Life as the regional director of Renewal for Life® (Texas).

Over my many years of working within the Church I’ve met many women who are now pro-life leaders and involved in lovingly speaking up for life. Jean is one of them.

For some years I worked at a residential home for women who were pregnant and had chosen life. Sherry (not her real name) was 17 years old when she arrived. The home required that the residents attend a weekly Bible study and become actively involved in spiritual life activities. I led these activities. Sherry was active and involved during her pregnancy. She decided to release her baby for adoption. A few days after the baby was born, she came to the Bible study crying. She had released the baby the day before into the hands of loving adoptive parents. She showed us a picture. It was heartbreaking to see her pain, but she knew she had done the right thing for her child.

Tonya (not her real name) was 16 years old when she came to live with us. Her mother had tried to force her to have an abortion. She refused. Because she refused, her mother kicked her out of their home. For awhile she stayed with other relatives and later with some friends, but eventually she found herself pregnant and homeless. At the time she came to us she was already eight months pregnant.

I heard this type of story over and over. “My mom wanted me to have an abortion and when I wouldn’t, she made me leave. She thought that would force me to have the abortion.” “My mom and stepfather didn’t want to be embarrassed and told me I could no longer live with them.” “My boyfriend didn’t want the baby and wanted me to have an abortion. He put a lot of pressure on me to have an abortion. Finally I decided to leave him and came to live here.”

And the list of those who needed help and received it goes on.