Protesting or Counseling?

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994309_10151830475287931_1954629516_nThe term “protester” has become the common and oftentimes negative verbiage used when describing any pro-lifers present on the sidewalks outside of abortion facilities. New Cities4Life sidewalk counselor, Sarah Blair, shares how the term “protester” can be confusing when discussing the ministry of Cities4Life and what it is that we actually do on the sidewalks as we meet abortion-minded women and families. Are we protesting or counseling?

I have been out on the sidewalks for about 6 months now, and as a sidewalk counselor there is a misconception that people have that really bothers me. It is the idea that I am a protester. I need to immediately clarify that just by being out there I am protesting something, in the same way that the bouncer, or the woman at the front desk of the clinic have blood on their hands simply by being where they are; by working where they do. Yes. I get it.

But there is a world of difference between protesting and counseling. I am a sidewalk counselor. As one of our counselors always says, “We didn’t come here empty-handed.” And as I often say, “If I didn’t have help for you, then I wouldn’t be here.”

Protesting says, “Be warm; be filled.”

Counseling says, “I know you’re cold and hungry. Let me hear your story and sort-of get inside your situation for a minute. I want to listen to you, and I surely have help for you.”

Protesting says, “Don’t murder your baby, you sinner.”

Counseling says, “I see that you’re in a tough situation and you don’t really want to be here as much as I really don’t want you to be. What brought you here today? Why do you feel like this is your only option? Let me hear what’s going on. I have help for you, and I have it in Jesus’ name. He’s the One that brought me here today. . . for you.”

So many of the moms and dads that come and go from the abortion mills in this city are so desperately in need of people that aren’t like anyone they’ve ever met before. They need Jesus. And Jesus has sent us to be the kind of people that a hurting world has no categories for. They need a listening ear; a loving touch; a whole demeanor that speaks comfort and life. Yes, we are there to tell them that abortion is murder and that murder is wrong. Always. But we are also there to say, “We know that you know this is wrong. But you’re in a very difficult situation, aren’t you? This seems like the only way out, doesn’t’ it? If this wasn’t hard then you wouldn’t be here today, and neither would we. But it is, and we want to help you in every way, so that ‘you and your children may live.'”

You see, abortion is a gospel issue; therefore, His people’s presence on the sidewalk needs to be a gospel presence. Is there a place for protesting? Perhaps. But as a friend of mine says, “If you show the good way, you won’t have to shout about it.”

Perhaps, you have always equated ministry outside of abortion centers with cold, heartless protesting. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Sarah shared we are to be people with a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the unborn and their mamas as we stand outside of abortion facilities and proclaim the message of Life and the Gospel. Maybe you are curious about sidewalk counseling and want to know what it’s all about? Maybe you would like to begin ministering at an abortion center in your area? If so, please contact Lisa Metzger, our Outreach Coordinator, at LisaMetzger@Cities4Life.org. Please continue to pray for the ministry of Cities4Life that we would remain faithful and steadfast in the mission that God has set before us. God continues to open doors and to provide as He uses the ministry of Cities4Life to transform this culture of death to a culture of Life.

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