I sometimes pray in front of abortion clinics, typically with a group of people from my parish. We used to go to a clinic that was also frequented by some particular evangelical Christian groups. I loved that they were there with the intent of witnessing to the Gospel of Life.
But this is where I totally disagree with their methods of being in front of abortion clinics.
Their leaders would pick up the Bible, get as close as they can on the public easement, typically near windows or doors of the clinic, and yell out Scripture. And they would read (ie. yell) the verses that really highlighted God’s wrath (ie. justice) because of sin, which abortion is a very grave sin. Or sometimes they would yell out some of the more hopeful verses of God’s love and mercy, but still yelling with a vibe of malice.
I’m not a fan of this type of pro-life witnessing because it causes potential clients to put up walls and be closed off to our sidewalk counselors who are genuinely trying to reach out to the women needing help (without yelling at them). That whole idea of honey is sweeter than vinegar.
I mention this because it leads me to my next favorite verse, from 1 Peter 3:
15 but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.
I wish those pastors would share God’s word with those women with gentleness and reverence.
I like these verses because it reminds me that I should always be prepared to defend my faith (ie. the hope that is in me) but in a charitable way. I’ve had my debates, mostly on social media, about aspects of my Catholic faith, and my pursuit of apologetics in knowledge and skill has taught me to be better about gentleness with reverence for seeing Christ in others that I’m debating with. I haven’t arrived, but I’m constantly striving to be better!
Too easy it is to let emotions run high and let misguided words turn sour quickly.
I just have to know and remember that I can respond to my riled up emotions in a gentle, peaceful way when defending my faith. If the other party decides to get angry…well…at the very least I’ve done my part.
Because of my own pursuit of Catholic apologetics and my involvement in ministries, I also try to remind my fellow Catholics of these verses.
Come, Holy Spirit. Strengthen the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord within me. Perfect in me the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With You, I pray that I’m always prepared to spread and defend my faith in word and deed with gentleness and reverence.
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