- Make “I” statements: “I cannot/couldn’t do that because...”
- Always give the reason as to why you “cannot do that”, this simply provides another point of view, and can help the person to make their decision from a wider information-base. If we begin with “You” rather than “I” we begin in an accusatory tone.
- Gently and carefully help them to engage in self-challenge. For example, ask them if by engaging in sex before they are married they are not saying they agree with non-marital sex, and how that will play into their marriage? A better example, if a person is talking about the possibility of abortion and speaks of ‘terminating the pregnancy’, always use the word ‘baby’. This allows you to be honest and might help the person to come to a new way of thinking. If s/he asks you why you speak of a baby when s/he is speaking of a pregnancy, you can clarify that since the embryo/foetus has its own DNA from fertilisation, and its own heartbeat from around 20 days post conception, it cannot be anything other than an individual human life.
We must be free to make our contribution to the debates in the public square, but if we can learn to offer them from a position in which persons are respected, we not only show human respect to others but bring truth into the situation.