Love says thou shalt not yell

If I had to chose the hardest part about being an active member of the pro-life movement, it would be the people who aren’t really pro-life. But others think they are.

Let me elaborate.

If you’ve been outside an abortion clinic, you’ve probably seen it: the people who stand there and yell crazy thing at people going in. Try to talk to them and they just start going off about how we’re heretics who worship Mary and or we’re not true Christians or something along those lines. Women who are already in crisis mode blast their ipods and huddle close to the boyfriend or mother who is bringing them in as they walk through the barrage of comments. “You’re going to hell!” the people on the sidewalk yell. And the women walk past. Right into the inviting arms of the clinic.

When the women are inside, the men stand there using a traffic cone as a megaphone and yell how the clients are violating each commandment. Oh, and the clinic workers? They let ’em have it too.

One time in the last few months we were outside praying when a boyfriend/husband/partner of a client inside came out for a smoke. The sidewalk is close enough to this particular clinic that you can talk to anyone and everyone outside. However, the man with his cone took the opportunity to condemn the father and elaborate how much of a sinner he was. And by golly, hell was most definitely in his future.

Encouraging, right?

NOT.

I wanted so badly to go and talk to the father. Just ask him how he was. He was so obviously hurting. You could see it in his eyes. Who knows what circumstances led him and the mother of his child there? I could see that he was almost in tears while being verbally abused by this man with the cone. I wanted to intervene, but didn’t. It was so loud and the people who yell don’t listen to what we have to say. But to this day I feel so bad for the man who was out there smoking and pray he has found some peace.

Last time we were outside the clinic, the people who yell were in the middle of a conference (meaning they brought tons of people) and they filmed this video. Be warned, there is some language and graphic signs.

You know what strikes me?

There are people across the country who do this and they always claim to be bringing the gospel to people. But I don’t see that. Jesus ate dinner with sinners, healed, and forgave them. He met them where they were. These people who call themselves abortion abolitionists condemn people. They yell hateful things. There is no love visible to the world. Oh, AND last time we were there some of them were chatting and taking dance breaks outside the clinic.

Now I can’t judge what their motivation is. I know they want to end abortion. But I can’t help but recognize how their movement is centered around a righteous mentality of telling other people what to do.

Sure, stand there with a sign. Yell at people. That’s easy, folks.

You know what’s not easy?

Opening your heart to the clients going in. Putting your comfort on hold to stand in the snow and pray for people who are victims of abortion (the children, women who are coerced, and fathers who weren’t given a say). Getting up at o-dark-thirty on a Saturday morning to offer resources and alternatives to people going inside these clinics. Just being there and starting conversations is hard when you have people yelling nasty things around you.

But it’s important because parents need to know they have options. They need to be empowered with knowledge to be able to make an informed decision. They need to know they are people worthy of love, and that they can make a better life for themselves.

And you know what? Yelling doesn’t do that.

Yelling says “What you are doing is wrong and you are a sinner. You are a murderer. You are a terrible person. How can you do such a horrendous thing?”

But love says “I don’t know why you are here, but I know that you are hurting and need a shoulder to lean on. Let me love you by putting your needs first and taking the time out of my day to be with you and empower you to be the person you can be.”

Now you tell me. If you were a young mother or father facing a crisis moment and in total survival mode – which approach would you be more receptive to hearing?

5 thoughts on “Love says thou shalt not yell”

  1. How is telling a mother that there is a beautiful life inside of her and that she doesn’t have to go into the clinic suddenly hateful just because they say it loud enough for the people to hear. When they were standing close to the people like a normal conversation, they used conversational tone. I’m not very familiar with these guys, but I don’t see hateful yelling. I see impassioned pleading.

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    1. Maybe it’s not in the video, but these people stand there at yell at people going in about how they are going to hell. That is not loving.

      Even when the doors are closed, they stand there and yell loud enough for people inside to hear. They also tell the clinic workers how they are going to hell if they don’t repent ASAP.

      It’s really quite offensive when all the people in these desperate situations need is love.

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  2. Great post. When we consider that people come to these clinics in crisis, we really need to be aware of the best method of communication. What “yellers” communicate may be true {abortion takes a life, etc}, their method is not the most effective for people in crisis.
    New Wave Feminism has a great post about why they don’t use graphic images when they counsel on the sidewalk, and I think their principles apply to yelling as well.

    http://newwavefeminists.blogspot.com/2013/12/an-open-letter-to-my-friend-troy-newman.html

    Thanks for posting, Laura!

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