I have often been criticized by abortion-rights advocates for using the word “murder” to oppose abortion. I rarely see opposition to that word from the Right, though. That was the premise of a recent discussion about the use of the term strategically and how using it (or not using it) can change minds.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: Obviously pro-lifers should use different arguments and rhetorical strategies for different contexts. Standing by the phrase “abortion is murder” does not require you to be hard line and inflammatory in everything you say, and it certainly does not mean we have to say that “pro-choice” people are evil. All of us who discuss politics (or theology, or anything for that matter) use different words and phrases in different contexts and we take a different tone based on the context. For example, I do not use the word “murder” to describe abortion in Herald-Times comments, because that word is not permitted.
But we need to be very clear here: “Murder” is a strong word, and that is exactly why we should use it. “Murder” convicts our souls in a way that “killing” does not. Yes, in our criminal justice system, “murder” is a different from killing, but we should not toss the word aside with the excuse that it is a legal term. It is that, but first and foremost it is a Biblical term with eternal meaning. We should not deny power of the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of who we are talking to – either directly or the wider audience of our tweets, blogs, letters to the editor and Facebook posts.
Ultimately, that is the only real way to “convince” anyone of the pro-life cause. The issue is not whether our language is “inflammatory” or whether our arguments are convincing. Everyone knows exactly what abortion is and exactly what abortion does, no matter how loudly or stubbornly they deny it or argue to the contrary. The real issue is that people who support “abortion rights” have been spiritually blinded, and the only way to change that is through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. A huge part of repentance is having your sin exposed to you, so you know you need to repent. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross will cover that and any other sin committed by anyone who believes on Him and submits to Him as Lord and Savior.