By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
Heated emotions have flared up across our country since Roe vs. Wade's recent overturn. This may bring to question how to approach a conversation with your teen about such issues. As they have quickly become bombarded with information and thrown into the tidal wave of passionate displays of continual protests, it may be a good time to have a heart-to-heart.
Approaching hot topics like these is never easy; it can be daunting, to say the least. However, helping our teens see that these issues have become politized and controversial and that social media, tv shows, and friends may have conflicting views, but we are there to offer guidance and support is invaluable. We need to be a voice of reason that can gently steer them to seek wisdom and gain understanding of God's perspective on such issues.
We have an opportune time. As parents, we must seize it. Whether it is a five-minute conversation in the car or a quick question asking how they feel about the issue, this opens doors for them to discuss their feelings safely and allows for deeper discussions in the future. Will it be awkward? Yes. Will you always say the right thing? No. These conversations will most likely make you feel flushed and nervous. And to make matters even more uncomfortable, they will probably come with a few eye rolls or glances at their phone, but don't let that stop you from trying. It takes effort, multiple mini-talks, and lots (and lots) of prayer.
Prepare now by asking God to cover your child with wisdom and that when conversations arise on such delicate topics, they flow easily. Ask that the Holy Spirit reside in your teen's heart and that when they open up and share their heart, you can listen with love and guide them with Truth.
Listen to Their Side
Start with a lead-in question, such as, "What are your thoughts on abortion?" or "What do you know about the Roe vs. Wade case?" These are good conversation starters. It allows you to get a snapshot into their thoughts and a sneak peek into their heart.
Then listen. While their viewpoint may differ from yours, seek to understand why they feel the way they do. Let them share their reasoning and bite your tongue when you feel your own feelings rise from within, especially when you want them to see the issue a specific way. It's easy to boldly interject when we hold such strong convictions, but in doing so, they will only shut down. I have sadly learned this through experience. Sigh. We mustn't be blind to the fact that culture persuades our children (starting at a very young age) that life is disposable. They are exposed to worldly standards that proclaim motherhood is an obligation and hindrance that holds us back rather than a blessing from God allowing us to move forward into future generations seeking Him. (Psalm 127:3-5)
So, keeping that in mind, here are three ways to listen to your teen when the time arises:
1. Be attentive. Let your teen know you are truly listening by giving them your full attention. Put your phone down, look them in the eye, nod, and give a welcoming posture that shows you care about what they are saying.
2. Invite God into the conversation. When the topic begins, silently pray and ask God to lead the discussion.
3. Be slow to speak and slow to anger. This one may be difficult if they share things that go against your core beliefs. When you feel those mixed emotions, pause and remember where they are coming from, and try showing compassion and kindness instead of frustration and rage.
Lead Them to God's Truth
While we have reached a pivotal point in our history with the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, now we can seize the moment and etch into our teen hearts why this is such a crucial time to seek Truth. God's Truth. While our children see brokenness and family division surrounding them, along with friends speaking their opinion, possibly swaying their beliefs, it's important that we be a sounding board but also lead them back to God's Word and what He has to say about the issue.
Here are three key points to make when leading them to Truth on this issue.
1. Abortion Begins and Ends with Our Sinful Nature
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrew 13:4
Abortion derives from sin. Teens need to understand that all sexual relations outside marriage are a sin; it goes against His Word and plans for our lives. Unintended pregnancies happen due to a choice by one or both parties going against the sanctity that is found in a marriage. We need to teach our children about God's design for family and that children are a gift from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)
2. Abortion Gives Way to Temptation, Guilt, and Shame
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Enduring an unintended pregnancy can be agonizing for any woman, especially a young woman that isn't married and is placed in a situation she is most certainly not ready for. However, our teens need to understand that our choices come with consequences, and in the event of an untimely pregnancy, the temptation to end a life in order to enrich their own only paves a pathway to guilt and shame. We must let our teens know that there are always other options, and God will always provide a way to bring peace rather than pain. We must teach them to rely on God and let Him be their guide.
3. Abortion Goes Against God's Law
For I created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139: 13-16
This infamous verse is often proclaimed during a heated discussion on abortion. Our teens need to know why it is such a profound verse. If they read the entirety of Psalm 139, they discover that God knows us intimately. He knows our thoughts and actions. He understands our hearts and deepest desires. We see how God pays special attention to every detail of our body, beginning in the womb. Our teens need to understand that God values life. Every single life, from the very beginning.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/shironosov
Questions Teens Have about Abortion
What if a pregnancy occurs due to rape or incest?
According to recent studies, only 1% of abortions are done because of rape, and less than 1% are done because of incest. In other words, these are considered very rare cases. On the contrary, the leading cause of abortion is said to be that having a baby would dramatically change the woman's life in 74% of cases, followed closely by the fact that a woman can't afford to have a baby being 73% of cases. That being said, while it may be emotionally difficult to carry a baby for nine months under any of these circumstances, abortion is not a form of birth control. There are ways teens can seek counsel, wisdom, and support and choose life for both mother and baby.
Is the morning-after pill (Plan B) okay to take?
This is an issue of great debate. This pill is similar to a birth control pill but has a higher level of synthetic hormones. It is meant to be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse. However, all that being said, we still must get back to the moral issue here. What message are we sending our teens if they take these pills? Establishing boundaries is good, and letting them know it is always better to wait until they are married and ready to start a family. (Hebrews 13:4)
Can we be forgiven if we want, seek out, or have an abortion?
While God wants us to live our best life and provides us ways in which we can do so found throughout His Word, He also offers us His grace and mercy when we fail. Tucked within His power of healing are forgiveness and redemption. Our teens must know they can always go to God with a pure heart and ask for forgiveness, and they are forgiven. It's that simple. (Isaiah 1:18) But in doing so, they must also make changes in their lives to listen, obey and trust God. It's a call to action, striving to live according to His will and plan for their lives.
When does human life begin?
This question has confused our society for years as viewpoints from secular scientists to theologians all weigh in. But what does God say? The Bible references the unborn as actual people, human beings, who hold great value and worth. Here are a few Scriptures to lean on and share with your teen so they can see how much God values the unborn.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
Galatians 1:15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, was pleased.
These are challenging times to navigate, and these topics are indeed not easy ones to discuss, but stand firm in your faith, and remember that God won with the recent ruling – that is something to celebrate! We now get to raise a generation that is learning that all life is valuable and worthy and that protecting the unborn is vital. Praise be to God for that!
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/logolis
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.