She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26.
The second freedom that I want to recognize is the Freedom of Speech. Proverbs tell us that the wise woman speaks with wisdom and kindness. These are two important qualities to remember when we are speaking out, whether in public or alone within the quasi-private world of the internet. Too often we fall into the trap of believing that just because we are right, we have the right to speak out in any way we like. But this is simply not true. As Christians, what we say is actually not as important as how we say it. So, here are a few tips for us to remember when we are exercising our Freedom of Speech.
- Make sure you have your facts straight. Nothing does any cause more harm than to be caught quoting erroneous information. If you are not prepared to cite of source for your statistic, don’t use it. Here’s a great tip: Get your information from the opposition’s website. When I am preparing an article against abortion and need a figure, I go to the Planned Parenthood website. It may seem unlikely that they would admit to some of the things they do, but they don’t even realized how bad it actually sounds.
- Remember that it is the issue you are talking about, not the person. Abby Johnson, a former worker in the abortion field and the author of Unplanned, has written extensively about how much harm is done by those who verbally attack workers going into abortion clinics. So when speaking out against abortion, it is important to include words of charity and hope for those who have committed these atrocities. Often people who are working in the industry have pains and hurts of their own and need to experience the love of Christ. A kind word from one of us can soften a heart and open up lines of communication. After all, the more of them that do see the light and come out of the industry, the fewer people will be left to kill the babies. (Note: Abby Johnson has started an outreach ministry, And Then There Were None, to help workers in the abortion industry leave the business; you can find out more about this, and how you can help, by clicking the link.)
- Listen carefully and ask the right questions. When we were at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC for the final day of the Fortnight for Freedom, I saw four protesters holding up a sign that said “Bishops, you don’t speak for me.” So, here are some good questions for those protesters. “Who do they speak for?” (Themselves?) “Who speaks for the 4,000 people who are here to hear them?” (Well, the bishops must, or else they wouldn’t be here.) “Who speaks for you?” (The President.) “Who do you think has the most political clout, the President of the United States or the bishops? So, what’s the problem?”
- Never, ever, ever get angry. No matter what, keep a smile on your face and gentleness in your voice. Not only will it make you look smarter and better than your opponent, but it will also drive her crazy.
Susan Mathis is delighted to be a daughter of the Church, the wife of James and the mother of Chris, Josh and Maggie. In addition to homeschooling and homemaking, she also blogs for paperstarter.com.