Modeling Grace to Your Kids in the Pro-Life Message

Young people are often confused by rhetoric coming from their peers, schools, and media. How can parents respond when asked about abortion?

We stand on the precipice of an historic transformation, both for good and for evil, as we process the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Now is the time for us to be honing our pro-life messages and teaching our children, what does it mean to be pro-life. The headlines today are like the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

With this change, the legality of abortion is now placed in the hands of the legislature of each state. It is the best of times in that twenty-six states will likely ban or restrict access to abortion as a result. It is the worst of times in that the other twenty-four states will continue to provide abortions—in some cases all the way up to nine months.

In response to this highly polarized issue, young people today are often confused by rhetoric coming from their peers, schools, and media. So how can a Bible-believing parent respond to questions from their children and teens when they ask about abortion? How can we teach our children to defend life in a gracious, yet articulate and persuasive way?

Since the earliest days of Christianity, believers have been faced with difficult moral questions, just as we do today. How have parents navigated these difficult waters, striving to uphold biblical morality and to walk in the teachings of Christ while living in a fallen world? What are some lessons from scripture and from Christian history that can help parents guide their children today – helping them to become pro-life kids?

The Commandment of Love

On the night Jesus was betrayed to his death, he made this declaration to his followers.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34, ESV)

Loving others is not just a suggestion for the follower of Christ. Instead, it is His final commandment before he went to the cross.

Hateful and hurtful rhetoric surrounds the question of abortion. Parents can explain to their children that the hearts of people who support abortion will not be changed through derogatory language. Scripture admonishes us to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Because this is such a highly charged subject, it’s important for parents to guide their children and model speaking the truth, but doing so in a loving and gracious way.

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Living in Grace and Truth

In the abortion debate—like other emotionally-charged issues—people of faith often rush to defend the truth. However, we must be careful to teach our children to follow the example of Jesus in how we communicate this truth. Jesus is the model for how to communicate with others: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17, ESV)

It’s important for our children to know that when confronting unbiblical behavior in our culture, we must place grace as a foundation to truth, just as Jesus did.

Those who exclude grace and love from truth can often appear harsh, unloving, and judgmental. In his famous discourse on love, the Apostle Paul declares of those who place truth ahead of love:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor. 13:1, ESV)

Those who advocate abortion will likely only hear a noisy gong if someone tries to argue with them, especially if they argue in anger. As the writer of Proverbs teaches:

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1, ESV)

The Path of Nonviolence

The lesson of nonviolence is another vital concept parents must model for their children when confronting deception and unbiblical behavior. In accepting the Nobel Prize for his leadership of the Civil Rights movement in America, Martin Luther King, Jr. explained the wisdom behind nonviolent protest:

“We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts.” (King, Martin Luther. “The Nobel Lecture.” The Nobel Prize. )

King’s notion of nonviolence includes these key principles.

  • One can resist evil without resorting to violence.
  • Nonviolence seeks to win the “friendship and understanding” of the opponent, not to humiliate him (King, Stride, 84).
  • Evil itself, not the people committing evil acts, should be opposed.
  • Those committed to nonviolence must be willing to suffer without retaliation as suffering itself can be redemptive.
  • Nonviolent resistance avoids “external physical violence” and “internal violence of spirit” as well: “The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him” (King, Stride, 85).
  • The resister should be motivated by love in the sense of the Greek word agape… (King, Stride, 86).
  • The nonviolent resister must have a “deep faith in the future,” stemming from the conviction that “the universe is on the side of justice” (King, Stride, 88).

Knowing The Truth Will Make You Free

It is vitally important that parents teach children the truth about abortion and its effects. Our children must be given the information they need to defend the cause of life. Here are just a few items parents can teach their kids to equip them in the abortion debate.

Living a Pro-Life Lifestyle

As parents, we must exemplify a pro-life lifestyle for our kids. One of the most frequent arguments I hear is that abortion is necessary because there are not enough resources to care for pregnant mothers and their babies. Pro-life advocates and people of faith must rise to fill this gap.

Vision is easier caught than taught. In addition to teaching children the arguments against abortion, parents must also model ways to live out their pro-life convictions. Here are some ways you can model the pro-life lifestyle in practical ways:

  • Volunteer at your local women’s care center or pro-life medical clinic.
  • Travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the annual March for Life
  • Attend local prayer rallies for life.
  • Become a church liaison for your local pro-life center.
  • Bring your expertise into service as a member of your pro-life center advisory committee or board of directors.
  • Participate in local pro-life fundraising efforts, not only by giving, but by getting involved in practical ways to carry the load.
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To the Least of These

The apostle James gives us two valuable passages that provide wisdom that we can teach our children to use when dealing with any contentious and controversial topic.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19, ESV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. (James 3:13, ESV)

As parents, it’s our responsibility to train our children to strive to be Christlike in every encounter, to listen in a calm demeanor and then to speak the wisdom of God in love and grace. In the end, we as parents must continually remind our children of the words of Jesus, “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, ESV) In this fallen world, I strongly believe that part of that training needs to include the aspect of being pro-life.

For more in-depth resources, check out the Focus of the Family Pro-Life Advocacy website.  

Related articles:

Raising Pro-Life Kids: 4 Ways to Teach the Sanctity of Life

How to Set a Good Example for your Kids

Abortion Pros and Cons: 5 Pro-Life Arguments

Science vs. the Bible: When Does Life Begin

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