With all the hullabaloo about Roe v. Wade, most of us are bombarded with social media feeds of arguments for and against abortion, personal choice, and human life in general. People are passionate about their beliefs, at least the most vocal certainly are. There are times I want to react or comment but I hesitate. That very hesitation makes me wonder if I’m being a good Christian. Do I stay silent or speak up? I certainly can’t take on every battle myself. I don’t have all the answers and my family needs me too. So why do I beat myself up over this?
St. Bernadette, who was widely disbelieved for years over her vision of Our Lady, once said, “My job is to inform, not to convince.” This should bring us all comfort because we are to share the gospel, the truth, but we can’t help the choice of others to believe or not. Our effort is all we can give. I’ve given my effort on several occasions to some of these ‘friends’ I’m in touch with, yet some have made it clear how they feel. So how much effort am I to put in over and over again?
Jesus told his disciples to “shake the dust from their shoes” when the message wasn’t well received (Matthew 10:14, Luke 9:5, and Mark 6:11). If this is such a big message, maybe we shouldn’t stress over convincing others when they’ve made it so clear they won’t agree. That doesn’t by any means dismiss us from preaching the gospel, but it does mean we can walk away from what could become a toxic argument. So when does that happen?
Perhaps we have to decide that for ourselves, but it would seem to fall on two things: our mental stamina throughout an argument and the hard-heartedness of the one with whom we’re engaged. We each know our limits, but in some regards shouldn’t we at least try to push them when it comes to the truth? Easier said than done in some situations, and so, we must pray for strength and courage. We should also pray for wisdom and discernment. To be honest, let’s just pray for all the gifts of the Holy Spirit! We certainly need them in this world!
While I’ve taken the time to (stressfully and painfully) argue for life with a family member over social media before, the second deciding factor certainly set in. She is so adamant in her stance, so hard-hearted, that I did need to walk away unfruitful. (It felt unfruitful but heaven knows.) It came to a point where it would do more harm to myself and my family if we kept going. We ended the argument with neither satisfied. I didn’t ‘let it go’ per se, but I pray for her and I pray dearly for her children.
There’s so much to be said for the sanctity of life and many ways to better argue that point, but not everyone has the ability. For those who feel the dreaded anxiety of debate, let us inform lovingly and pray we have the courage to know when to stand firm and speak up, and when to speak the truth courageously and walk away. But let us never stop praying (especially for our own courage and their conversion) and never let it go. Just be careful of those toxic arguers. Don’t let their hotness bring you down.