As a true follower of Christ, the first thing we need to consider is the person to whom we're having the conversation. Show them love. (Matthew 22:39) Has this person been personally involved with an abortion?... maybe had one herself? This possibility should set the tone quickly for us.
I made this very mistake once. Took a hard stand only to find out the woman had been raped and gratefully (so she said) had the abortion as a result. I apologized profusely and asked for forgiveness. She forgave me, but I didn't help her at all. Likely pushed her farther from God. I wasn’t prepared to have that conversation. I regret it to this day. So, here you have my motivation for this blog. The first thing we should do is determine if the discussion is personal or simply philosophical.
If philosophical, then we need to clarify what issue is at the center of the debate. It has little or nothing to do with a woman’s right to choose, privacy, rape, or incest. Rather, is the unborn human? … or not?
The Bible answers this question without any doubt. The unborn are indeed human.
- We are created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27)
- God knows us before we are born. (Jeremiah 1:5)
- God said the killing of the unborn was punishable by death. He surely would not require that penalty for a non-human. (Exodus 21:22-25)
- We were wonderfully and purposefully made in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-16)
If indeed the unborn is human, then killing it at any stage of life is clearly morally wrong. Unborn or born, it is still human, and killing an innocent human is murder. Although this is true, it is also harsh.
We need a softer and wiser approach. As Scott Klusendorf, founder and President of Life Training Institute (LTI), suggests, “defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy. Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.”
From a strictly philosophical standpoint, an embryo is no less developed than a newborn baby. Furthermore, there is no moral difference between an unborn human and you. Klusendorf uses the SLED acronym to help us remember the “non-essential differences”.
- Size: Unborn humans are smaller than newborn babies. Why is this relevant? Toddlers are smaller than teenagers. Are toddlers less valuable than teenagers? Of course not.
- Level of development: Unborn humans are less developed than newborn babies. Why is this relevant? Again, toddlers are less developed than teenagers. Are toddlers less valuable than teenagers? Are mentally handicapped people less human than geniuses? Again, of course not.
- Environment: Location does not determine who we are. “Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed?” Of course not. Then why would “outside the womb” make one more valuable than “inside the womb”?
- Degree of dependency: Unborn humans are dependent on the mother to survive. However, if a lack of dependency makes us human, then are diabetics not human? Are they not dependent on insulin?
We can use these examples to address the person’s common criticisms. If intellectually honest, they must take these counter positions seriously.
If the abortion issue turns out to be personal one as mentioned earlier, then we must be more careful with our approach. This person may be angry, hurting, or remorseful. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding their decision. As author Frederica Mathewes-Green says, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.” There is very likely a feeling of guilt in this person. Again, we must show them love. This time, however, it should be God’s love.
The best place to start is the Bible. Romans 3:22 says, "We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done." There is no wrong too great that God can’t forgive.
Forgiveness from God requires repentance. (Act 3:19) Repentance is loosely defined as a change of mind that results in a change of action. A “change of mind” means a change in our way of thinking and a change of heart. We no longer wish to sin.
Forgiveness also requires faith in Jesus Christ. We acknowledge His sacrifice on the cross. He paid the price for our sins – past, present, and future. He is our advocate before God on judgement day. (1 John 2:1) Without Him, there is nothing we can do ourselves to earn our forgiveness. When we put our trust in Christ, we are forgiven. (Romans 8:1)
No better way to conclude than with a message of love, forgiveness, and hope.