What is your reaction when someone confesses to you? What do you do when you hear what happened to someone at your church, school or work? Do you embrace that person or reject them because of their sin? What if it results in a life changing situation?
We all have those moments in our lives when someone does not live up to our expectations or disappoints us. There are many ways to handle things but there is also always a Godly way to react when you do not know what to do.
There is a movement today to discuss unplanned pregnancies in a new way. As a a social worker with women in unplanned pregnancies at a Christian agency, I am grateful for the open discussion regarding unplanned pregnancies. I know it can be difficult to react in an appropriate manner to the friend or coworker who chooses to relay their news to you.
One of my favorite new movements has become the “All Lives Matter” movement among pro–lifers. There are wonderful women who are emphasizing how important mothers and their babies are. This movement is one that is changing lives – mothers, babies, pro–life people and pro–choice people.
Today, I would like to offer a few tips for how to talk to someone who is facing an unplanned pregnancy.
- Focus on the mother. One of the worst things you can do is start the conversation with “You’re not getting an abortion, right?” When someone chooses to reveal an unplanned pregnancy to you, they are exposing their heart to you. That is sacred. Listen to them. Listen to their worries. Listen to their concerns. Talk about the baby but make sure you are focusing on the mother and her concerns. It is very upsetting to find out you are pregnant when you were not planning to be. This is a huge life adjustment. What the mother plans on doing is important but first you need to show that you are there for her.
- Empathize. In social work classes, I spent hours in class studying empathy. Empathy and sympathy are two different things. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone. Empathy is when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. People do not want pity. They want empathy. They want you to try and imagine how you would feel if you were in their shoes. Luke 6:31 (NIV) says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Empathy is simply the concept that you should treat this woman as you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation.
- Refer her to your local pregnancy help center. This step is simple. Keep a list of local pregnancy centers to give to a friend who is in need of assistance with her pregnancy. One of my favorite pregnancy centers throughout the United States is CareNet. You can also do an online search and find your nearest center. Local pregnancy help centers help with life affirming decision-making, community resources, parenting classes, and baby items.
- Show Jesus. The most important thing you can do is be an example of Jesus to the woman who chooses to tell you she is pregnant and does not know what to do. Offer to be her support system throughout the journey. If she has no one to rely on, offer to go to the doctor with her. Show her that her life matters and that a baby is a blessing. Her circumstances may not be ideal but she will discover how wonderful it can be to have a baby – whether she places the baby for adoption or chooses to raise the baby. Let her know how much Jesus loves her and the baby. This is the best thing you can do.
In the past, the pro–life movement has sometimes focused an extreme amount on how wrong women are to have abortions. The modern day movement has come to realize that this is ineffective and not helpful. It is important to show a woman that no matter the mistakes she has made or will make, she is worth Jesus’ love. This is the most effective way to be a witness of Jesus and help a woman and her baby.
Jesus proves this in the story of the woman He met at the well in Samaria. In John 4, Jesus offers water to a Samaritan woman at the well. Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other so this was an extremely big deal. This woman was shocked and questioned Jesus offering her water. Jesus told her about the everlasting water and about her life and the many husbands she had. In awe of Jesus’s love and care, she became a Christian and many were saved because of her. If you want to see an example of handling a situation with someone who has found themselves in need of Jesus’s love and forgiveness – look to the story of the woman at the well.
This story truly demonstrates that showing compassion, love and forgiveness has more influence than any other response. Remember this and you will be able to help many – not just the woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. Imagine the testimony this woman or her baby may have to give to many others in the future because someone stopped to show Jesus. If you have any questions or concerns about handling discussing unplanned pregnancies feel free to comment on this article and I’ll reach out to you personally.