Gospel-Centered Pro-Life Podcast
Gospel-Centered Pro-Life Podcast

Episode 8 · 2 years ago

What is Sidewalk Counseling?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Is standing in front of an abortion clinic Biblical? What is Sidewalk counseling? Daniel and Vicky give scriptural and practical support for Christians being a voice for the voiceless at their local abortion center. 

charlotte.cities4life.org 

www.sidewalks4life.com

I Am Yours, I am yours, I am yours. Send Me Lord, I am yours. Welcome to the Gospel Center prolife podcast and this episode we're going to ask the question what is sidewalk counseling? We're going to get into the some of the scriptural support for sidewalk counseling and some of the practical implications of being in front of an abortion center. I felt show passish, touch your heart. Use Welcome to the Gospel Center prolife podcast. We appreciate those who've joined us. We're going to deal with the subject today that's really near and dear to our hearts, and that sidewalk counseling folks that come into into prolife ministry and those sort of things. Maybe some of you folks are new to Pro Life Ministry and you've heard this term sidewalk counseling and maybe you know what that means, maybe you don't. And so we're going to talk through what sidewalk counseling is, to some of the real basics of it and and share some of our experiences and then share some of the scriptures of why we believe sidewalk counseling is Biblical and and Biblically what sidewalk counseling looks like. It's not that this podcast is designed to to just equip sidewalk counselors. It certainly is for that. We really wanted to be more broad than that, though, and just equip people in general to talk through questions that they have in general about prolife issues and light of the Gospel. But it's our heart, it's what we're doing day in and day out sidewalk counseling at the abortion centers here in Charlotte and it's a lot of you know, a lot of people look to us with questions about sidewalk counseling and we do trainings and things like that. And we have the sidewalks for life website, sidewalks the number four and lifecom and that website is a side won't counseling website. It's a Gospel centered prolife sidewalk counseling website. But let's talk real quick about sidewalk counseling.

This, hopefully will be a pretty short podcast, but maybe not. Maybe we'll get in some more depth than we than we thought that we would, but let's let's talk a real quick just the basic definition of sidewalk counseling. Thank you. What is that basic definition? Yeah, well, I know when I when I first heard that word, I had no idea, I didn't know what it was, but but now I do it. So I think sidewalk counseling is being on the sidewalk in front of an abortion center where dozens or more babies are dying every day, and counseling or pleading with truth, God's truth, to the mom's that this is something they should not do and that there's hope and help available to yeah, I know some people, because we talked a little bit about this before we started the podcast, and even some of our pro bowl portion friends have have kind of wondered why do you, why do you call yourself counselors? You're not really a counselor. You know, you have to go through training and go through school in order to be a counselor. And what they're talking about of courses, they're talking about like clinical psychologist and these sort of things. So why would we use a term like counselor when we're talking about the issue of abortion and we're talking about engaging with women going into an abortion center? Sure, and and that was another thing when I first read and I saw it on facebook with one of my friends who called her self sidebought counselor, and I had actually the same response. I'm like, no, you're not, not a counselor. I know you don't have a degree in counseling, but but indeed, really, if you go to the scripture, we are we're counseling with the word of God, and some scripture really popped out at me as we were discussing this. One of those is some one hundred and nineteen twenty four, which says your testimonies are my delight, they are my counselors. So we have as believers, we have the word of God, the Holy Spirit,...

...living within us, and it should be our delight, and that is what counsels us and what we now have that we know is of great value and probably truly, I believe the only answer to the abortion crisis is is to then counsel others as we have been counseled by the Holy Spirit. And there's another one. It's sort of like Jesus is saying to his disciples, freely, you have received so freely, give so the wonderful counselor Jesus. He's changed our lives and counseled us into eternal life by his holy spirit. We're just taken what he's spoken to us and we're trying to speak that to other people, really speak to that Gospel centered we're here not just as humanitarian effort, we're here as Gospel proclaimers at the abortion centers come it's that's right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and we are not trying to pretend that we have a degree. Yeah, but we do have knowledge of the Lord and of and the Holy Spirits, guidance. And it was that. That next scripture, you can time this is proverbs twenty four six, and remember what's happening now there on the sidewalk of the abortion center is warfare. It is spiritual warfare. You, you, you are right there where the battle of good and evil is happening in the heavenly realms. And and so this verse says in Verse Six, Again Proverbs Twenty four, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. And so when we're waging a spiritual war, scripture says that that we are counseling each other. We are counseling each other towards how to engage in that battle...

...and and it is in that abundance of counselors that there is victory. So I think that's the sense that counselor is used in sidewalk. Counselor we are we are counseling from the the counseling that the Holy Spirit has has given us. And Yeah, that is that's what we are off. Yeah, I mean if you think about counselor when we when we talk about, you know, a clinical psychologist or we talk about a counselor that you sit down with, you know, in a crisis or a difficult situation, that's really what we're talking about. Somebody who sits down with you in a crisis or some of it, that converses with you in a crisis and talks you through that crisis and helps you to get on your feet and gives you some some things, some tips, some some to do's and those sort of things to help you get over that slamp. I guess we get through that crisis and then thrive in spite of that crisis, and that's exactly what we're doing in that sense right. As far as counselors? Yeah, I want to read this scripture ahead. I mentioned again as we were talking through before, this podcast, which is in Second Timothy and its second Timothy Three starts at sixteen and goest verse seventeen. It says all scripture is given by inspiration of God. So it speaks to the scripture that the Bible is our is the key for our our ministry. Right, I'll scriptures given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof. Doctrine could mean could be teaching. It's not just it's primarily talking about teaching to do with theology and those sort of things, but it can mean other teaching as well. Profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for Correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. So it's basically when we have the word of God we're thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So we don't need no one's saying that going to school and getting degrees and stuff is bad, but if we're trying to reach people in crisis and we believe the Gospel is the answer, I don't need, you know, an eight year degree in order to talk to someone in crisis and share with them what the answer is, because I know the answer is Jesus Christ right. So that's sort of that. You know. That that aspect of sidewalk counseling. We even have a few of our sidebot counselors who are counselors literally trained and degreed in counseling, and they still come to us for training and the experience Orians of how you approach mom who is there to aboard. So with all of their training, it's great. There are some things that they have learned as a counselor that are definitely good, like framework or techniques to use with those MOMS, asking questions, finding out the situation, being sure that you're a good listener, those sorts of things. But but, like you said, we don't need to have a degree and we're not claiming to be a degreed counselor. We are claiming that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to counsel others and everyone who has the Holy Spirit in dwelling them has that that power. Yeah, another aspect of counseling, you know, as talking earlier about. You know, so we look at counseling and what is a counselor counselor is someone who who is talking you through an issue and and helping you to come to certain conclusions. Right, right. But when we talk about legal counsel, we talk about lawyers. Lawyers are counselors, right, I mean the judge might address a lawyer as counsel. So, counsel, what is your what's your motion and that? So that's another aspect of counseling and it comes right out of proverbs thirty one versus eight nine, which...

...and these when you read this passage of Scripture and also the proverbs twenty four passage, we're talking about, you know, rescue those who are being led away to slaughter. This sort of speaks in that same the same terms, but it uses really legal terms and it says open your mouth for the speechless and the cause, or it could be the case like a judicial case, and the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously. That we're talking about making judgments. It's as judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy. The pleading part is the counseling part. Like what does a law. You're doing. He is. He is counsel for those who are potentially going to be condemned to a particular sentence, and this case we're talking about a baby who's going to be condemned to death, and we are a counselor on behalf of that baby. That's like a legal counselor sort of. We're like laying out of thanks that child's like exact exactly. We are laying out a case and in this case the judge is actually the mom. The judge who gives the sentence is the MOM, and we're trying to appeal to the judge. People talk about don't judge. The reality is that the MOMS that are going into abortion clinics are actually judging their babies in certain ways, and I don't believe that it's always malicious and it's alway always thought out in those ways, but practically the way that it works itself out is she is a judge toward that baby and we're appealing to her and saying, hey, judge, hey mom, these are the reasons why your baby doesn't deserve to right. And then there's three sort of points that we talked about constantly, which are what God says about this, the humanity of the baby and the resources that are available to the mother, or sort of like how we lay out a legal case in that way. We talk about those, you know, in our trainings we talk about those on the sidewalks for lifesite and what are those, those three points, and how do you apply them? But that that comes right out of this sort of...

...mentality of being a counselor legal counselor will be half of that baby. You know, and I was thinking as you were talking, that we are the council for the defense, yeah, of the baby. Well, there's another group that's, in a sense, the council for the other side. Yeah, but execution. That's right, that are prosecuting that baby, and those voices are loud and they are powerful because they have access to those moms that we don't have. They often have the law supporting them, at least in our city, and ways that so they have access, again, legally, that that we find we don't have. And and they're arguing the other side. They're saying that this is so, it's easy, it will solve all your problems. Those curs are the ones that are making money off of them. They were, sadly, exactly, and so they there's there's no other voice if that baby's to get a fair trial. If you're talking about it kind of in a legal sense and there are people pleading in the case where there's plenty of voices. But yeah, the case for death and the sidebalt counselor is pleading the case for life. Yeah, and in one sense, you know, with the like, in a legal sense, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and the default is innocent and depriven guilty. Unfortunately, in the situation that we're dealing with, which is really an uphill battle, yeah, that baby is assumed guilty and we have to lay out a case of their of their innocence. Now, again, I'm not saying this and I'm not saying that on the MOM's part. For the most part, these women are not thinking it through in this way. They're not maliciously like laying out this this thing where they want to judge their baby. It's really there are circumstances are dictating to them and they're there's fear that they're under. Is really dictating to them that this baby doesn't deserve now it is. It's sin and we need to come back that with the truth, with the Gospel.

But since we're fighting uphill battle and since our appeal is to the mother, we, as sidewalk counselors, are have to be careful in our in our wording, and that's sort of where, you know, when we start our trainings and we talk about for people who are just brand new to volunteering with us, when we talk about what sidewalk counseling is, we actually typically start with what sidewall counseling is, not exactly, which is, you know, we get accused on a regular basis and if you searched sidewalk counseling, I don't know if you have on Google, but if you search sidewalk counseling, you'll find several articles. You'll find some about real sidewalk counseling and what sidewall counselors are, and some positive, but you also find sidewalk counseling is sidewalk harassment, you know, and so they paint this picture. I think there's an article, and I may even actually be in that article on Cosmopolitan magazine. They talked about thee these sidewalk harassers. They're not sidewall counselors. They're harassers, and so when we talk about what sidewalk counseling is, we oftentimes begin with what sidewalk counseling is not in our training and it's not harassment and it's not just yelling at women and it's not a protest. They are protests that take place at abortion clinics and those are fine in some context and as long as they don't overlap what sidewalk counselors you're trying to do. But that's not what side will counseling is. It's literally pleading with the women, appealing to them, because then we're sort of beholding to that mother. So we don't want to be overthetop, we don't want to be yelling just accusatory statements. Your Amer don't murder your baby. We want them to come to us. Yeah, right, if you hear that. Yeah, called that out, and so that's where you know, with it with a counselor. And I'm you know, I've been in several counseling situations as a pastor and with friends that have struggles and things like that and had to counsel. You know, I've had times where I'm counseling with somebody, body and they're shared with me a story and I want to stand up and say you need to...

...repent, you're a wicked person. You you, you need to get it right. But if I'm counseling with someone and I want there to be a productive taking the information that I'm given in it being received in a productive way, I want to deliver it in a way that they're actually going to listen to what I'm saying. If I'm just accusatory, yeah, I'm not necessarily technically wrong if what I'm saying is biblical, but I might just be practically missing the mark because I'm not delivering it in a way that they're actually going to receive it. Yeah, and ultimately they have to come to that conclusion. If we just say what the conclusion is, which is what you do, if you say you're a murderer, that's evil, that's in that is all true. Yeah, but if we say that and they haven't come to realize that on their own and their own spirit be convicted in their own heart, they'll just be back. Yeah. So, so part of a good sidewalk counselor's job is to present the the arguments, the questions in such a way that that woman will think her heart will be convicted and she will come to change her mind based on the evidence that we are bringing. Yeah, to the case. Yeah, which kind of goes into maybe you can talk about this. The sidewalk counselors are trained, there is training, there are things that are preparation and necessity for a good sidewalk counselor, and so maybe you could talk about some of those things, like what are some of the things we need to know to be able to share with that woman so that we can effectively plead the case yeah, for that baby. Well, I mean those three talking points lemented earlier, like key, which is what God says about this and what God says about abortion. What God says about the mom that he loves her, the he has good plans for her, he wants her to trust in him. What God says about that baby, that...

...that baby is a precious gift from him, that that baby is made in his image. Of that's kind of what God says about it. Then the humanity of the baby. It really helps for US sidewall counselors to be informed about fetal development absolutely and if you don't know about fetal development, listen, Google it. It's so easy to find in our literature that we hand out fetal development. It's there. It's from secular sources. You can find fetal debilt. What was the APP you mentioned the other day? Yes, see baby and see sees baby. See, see, see with yours. See baby baby is the name of the APP and it's free. It is not political, it doesn't take a pro life or a pro abortion stance. It's, you know, it's just at probably as unbiased. It just says the fact. Yeah, but it shows videos at every week of development and invariably and their actual videos there, you know, through ultrasounds. Yeah, babies at every week of development all the way through to birth. And and so many times when I show those moms that video, those videos, that APP, they're astounded because they don't know human development. Most of the pro abortion people do not know the facts of fetal development. And, yeah, and most people are shocked at how developed at such a young age that little baby is. Yeah, so that's you know, that's sort of the second point, the humanity the baby. And then the third point is the resources that are available. And you know, locally we have connections with ministries all over the city of Charlotte and beyond. But you know, in every city there are organizations, their maternity homes, there are pregnancy centers, there are I mean we even go for here in Charlotte and I know what it can be like this across the nation. And sure it is in some cities where we have photographers that will give free baby pictures and come and take baby picture. I mean it's not a need, but it's like it just shows how people...

...are willing to take their skills and help women in need and whatever skill they might have. We have financial counselors, yeah, that will sit down and lay out a financial plan. Yeah, and I'm sure again that that kind of stuff is available nationwide and you know, and digging for those things can be can be a little bit of a challenge, but anyway. So there's a sort of the three points that every sidewalk counselor should be informed. You know. Another thing too, is understanding abortion procedures. Oh Yeah, you know, one of the things I talk about a lot when I'm talking to the women that are going into the men and they're going in is in the reality is the abortion clinic knows itself. The abortion industry knows that the more information you have about fetal development and about abortion procedures, the less likely you are to go through with an abortion. Therefore, when we give them that information that talks about fetal development and talks about abortion procedures and it's not graphic, it didn't go into you don't have to get an unnecessary graphic details, but a mom does need to understand what her baby's about to go through and she does need to understand that because she's going to understand that after it takes place and she's going to be horrified at what she had done. So that's why they try to take that information from them, that we get to them and they try to squelch information. That's why plan parenthood vehemently opposed the videos that came out back in two thousand and fifteen, I think it was, when people went behind the scenes and there were videos and they were descriptions of these abortion doctors talking about, you know, selling the baby parts. They don't want that information to really get out in the public because they don't want people to know that would potentially be their customers, that they're actually killing babies. They want people to still believe that it's a Blob of tissue, clump of sales and all that. They still use that garbage age old terminology, Blob of tissue, clump of cells, which no embryologist was going to use exactly. They don't. And they don't use the word baby. It's product of conception right, a room where they collect baby parts or pregnancy. They do not use the word baby. Or in our facility they will be fine.

Yeah. Yeah, so, you know, when we train, our side will counsels, we training with that sort of stuff. We the information that we have. You know, I tell new volunteers, if you read the information that we hand out and you process that information and you memorize that information, you will probably be more informed a field development and abortion procedures than the people inside of the building, most of the workers, the worker bees inside of that building doing the abortions. And that says a lot. But we've had conversations with a lot of abortion workers right and we know the limited scope of information that they actually have. So yeah, so as far as that's concerned, you know we have that practical information, but we always encourage our volunteers and any anybody. You No matter what context you're going to be talking about the issue of abortion, you need to understand that this is a spiritual battle. I mean it really is a spiritual battle. So us being in the word, US knowing what God's word says, because, you know, scientific facts are great. I think science is on our side and this area is no doubt. But our foundation has to be in the word of God, because science can change its opinion, it can do this and it can do that. But if our foundation is in God's word and we see what God's word says about human life, we see what God's word says about even difficult situations. Right, he is our present help in time of need. Psalm forty six, verse one. So on our shirts, right, God, God is a refuge in strength, our present help in time of need. Then we can speak faith in the situations and we can counsel from a perspective of truth and a solid foundation, which is God in his word, to these women that are going into abortion center. So we always will encourage our volunteers to be in the word, to speak God's truth, speak God's word graciously, in a way that makes you approachable, but in a truthful way, and that that man does so much work in a heart of a mom who's in doubt when them or not she should go through with an...

...abortion. Yeah, just just the other day there was some mom who made a hundred eighty degree turn around in her feeling about her child's based on the council that she received car side. And when she pulled up she was crying. She said she was frightened. She had a Bible in her car. She claimed to know you, the counsel she received Carside from, from you, guess? Yeah, yeah, that exactly from our from our team. And and and so she was. She she felt trapped and in in the decision to a board and she was about to pull in, but she was count soled car side for fifteen minutes. Made a hundred eighty degree turn turn around to where she actually said she was not going to move from in front of the driveway because no one should be pulling into that place to abort their child. So and she said before she pulled away, she said, I feel so much better now. What is the role of a counselor to lead you to a mature, right decision and plan for your life and so you'll feel better about the choices that you make and and o our measure of feeling better, as if it is peace, contentment, joy what you have when you are following the plans that God has set set for you. So, so that was a successful sidewalk counseling session. Yeah, you were able to counselor from counsel her from death to life and she left feeling a thousand percent better because she knew she had made the right choice. Yeah, yeah, so it is, you know, counseling and trying to persuade people to make a god honoring choice, a choice that would honor there, their baby and even honor there, there, there, themselves as a child of God, as a person who's made in the image of God. They may not be...

...a child of God at that time, right, but we certainly want to a part of our counseling. That's why, you know, with Gospel Center pro life, that's over, always point to the Gospel and we're going to talk in in some future podcasts, maybe just do one in particular about how to share the gospel with an abortion minded mom. But that's part of our counseling, as well as bringing the Gospel into the conversation. Yeah, and showing how God can use the situation. It's not like every you know, when a mom chooses life, everything in her life is going to be Hunky Dory. They're struggles, there's battles, but she has that solid foundation if she surrenders her life to Jesus of God's truth and that relationship with him, that we can, you know, in counseling, bring those truths to her and she can, you know, put her give her heart to the Lord and have that solid founder. Yeah, and I know when when I was first reading about sidebot counseling them, like I said, I thought I didn't know what it was and I thought it was presumptuous of them to call themselves counselors. But the third thought was, do they have a right to be there? I mean, these are women in crisis and my misconception was that these women's mind their minds were made up. They had already made a decision, they had horrific circumstances, they were victims and and who, why would anyone feel they had a right as a Christian to be on the sidewalk at this very terrible place in the in these women's lives? But one of the favorite verses that I think for me, addresses. That is proverbs eleven. I'm going to going to read that for you. Where is it? Rescue those? It's eleven and twelve. Actually rescue those who are being taken away to death, hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, behold, we did not know this. Does not he who weighs...

...the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay man according to his work? So we are called, we are biblically called, to hold back those that that are stumbling to the slaughter and we are to rescue those on their way to death. How perfectly that describes these abortion minded women and their little babies. And we cannot claim we didn't know. Yeah, and this Bible says that. Basically, you can't turn a blind of you cannot. Now, does that mean everyone should be called to be a sidewalk counselor or is called to be a sidewalk counselor no to I mean there's a whole network of people that that come together in in helping these these MOMS, maybe once they choose life, or in helping to prevent them from ever reaching the abortion center in the first place, but to say we did not know and just to pretend that abortion is not the crisis that it is. God will judge us because we do know. We all now. Yeah, yeah, that's a convicting scripture, but it is you know, it's better for us to know these truths and to walk in these truths and to be ignorant. You know, there's a willful ignorance that I think, in this day and age especially that Christians are in if they're going to deny the slaughter that's taken place in our nation of you know, sixty million plus babies that have died. And it is our place, for those who have the word of God, like that Second Timothy Passage says, it is our place to bring correction and reproof, as it says, those who have the scriptures. The scriptures are for doctrine, correction, reproof instruction. So yeah, so it's good that we think we had this conversation. Hopefully we cleared up some of the misconceptions that people have and you know, the goal is to have people that are watching and people that are listening equipped and in power to go and do whatever ministry God has called...

...you to do, bringing the Gospel, bringing the truth of the Gospel, and wherever God has called you to in protecting the lives of the unborn. So we appreciate all those who do listen and those who watch and just pray that you guys are blessed by these episodes. You can connect with us. You can connect with me, D parks at cities for Lifecom, as my email address, Vicky is vicaci Org at cities for lifecom. Go on our website, CHARLOTTE DOT cities for Life Dot Org, actually, so it's a dot org. Even there emails addresses orcom and you can connected with us there. Also our sidewalks for life site, which, again was designed for equipping and encouraging sidewalk counselors nationwide to just go to your local Abortion Center and be a Gospel Center presence there. And there's a lot of articles that were written recently. A routin an article about understanding the mentality of an abortion minded mom. We're talked about how they're under a spirit of fear. So go and check that out. And that's sidewalks for subwalks and number four LIFECOM and I hope you're blessed by the information that we're putting out there. Hope you're blessed by these episodes. Please you drop us an email, give us some suggestions of future episodes that we could do, subjects that we could tackle, and we again, we appreciate you, guys, watching and listening. God bless use, mel use. Give me. Will cost me my life, but now things too precious inside.

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