Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking at life-affirming conversations during Thanksgiving.
We have all suffered through an uncomfortable family Thanksgiving gathering or two. Perhaps frustrations are mounting too high and the temptation to speak out—to tweak that one family member’s political, social, or religious nerve—just becomes too much. Awkwardness and hurt feelings ensue, and the day is often spoilt for everyone. Perhaps that’s why so many people dread or avoid topics—such as abortion—during Thanksgiving dinners. Still, we shouldn’t automatically avoid talking about life issues during holiday celebrations simply because it makes us uncomfortable—instead, we should look at how we go about having those conversations.
Please realize that one conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table likely won’t change someone’s mind. Thankfully, it is not our job to convince others that we are right. That is God’s job. But as followers of Christ, we are called to make good arguments and to defend the truth—and to do so in a loving way. Therefore, the first suggestion is simple: listen. Listening is essential for effective communication and requires concentration and energy. I find it helpful to even repeat back the other person’s comment with a phrase like: “I’m hearing you say…” This can help make sure what they say and what you hear line up. After you understand why the other person feels the way they do, ask questions. Asking questions in a non-threatening way is a great method of learning more about that person’s heart.
Our second suggestion is a tender reminder to speak truth in love and gentleness. Like we are taught in the book of Colossians chapter 4, verse 6, we must avoid the temptation to compromise truth or speak harshly. When we talk about abortion, remember that many women and men go years without talking about their abortion decision with anyone, even close friends and family, burying it deep inside of them to avoid shame. Someone you care about could be hurting due to an abortion, and a conversation yielded towards love and healing could transform their hearts.
Anglicans for Life wishes you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving. I pray that you will glorify the Lord through the precious time you spend together, remembering to give thanks in all circumstances and to love one another.
• Talk about women and men you know who have been hurt by abortion but found healing. This may bring family members who have been hurting in silence to seek healing themselves.
• Write down some talking points or helpful conversation starters with members of your church, so you can all be prepared to make life-affirming but kind responses.