BUT FIRST, WHAT NOT TO SAY
GOD WILL GIVE YOU ONE TO REPLACE YOUR LOSS.
You sure about that one? Not what is needed now. You are not trying to represent God at this point, just allowing your friend to share. She needs to talk.
I UNDERSTAND. I HAD AN ABORTION.
You do not understand. Just hear the full story. Try nodding and listening as best you can.
YOU DID WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS BEST.
Don’t try to reason with someone going through incredible grief, who has been made to feel like a murderer, who feels like she can’t go on. This is NOT time to present reasonable answers or solutions. Do not see yourself as the advice-giver or the answer-person.
WHAT TO SAY
NOTHING. JUST LISTEN
Don’t even ask questions, unless it is to keep her talking. Let her share anything she wants about her situation and sorrow. Don’t even think about critiquing her story or correcting any words, such as “fetus,” or “termination.” She has probably had that from others, who offered advice or gave counsel for free, even when it was not requested.
I CAN’T IMAGINE THE LOSS YOU MUST FEEL.
Way to go. You understand that you can’t really grasp it.
GOD IS NEAR TO THE BROKEN-HEARTED. HE’S NEAR EVEN IF IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE IT. Okay, if she has poured out her whole story and there’s no more coming, maybe it can be a time for hugs and words of comfort. Maybe! You could ask is she wants prayer. If she is open to touch, you could put your hand on her shoulder, or if you know her well and are a woman, on her heart. You might want to pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, Who alone truly knows, understands, and deeply loves.
I KNOW WHERE YOU CAN GET HELP.
She needs hope. It may not be you, but it may come from you. Is there a ministry you know about that works with people who have gone through abortions and can walk through the healing process with them? If not, could you find one?
GOD IS A MERCIFUL, FORGIVING FATHER. HE BOTH FORGIVES AND HEALS.
When you don’t know what to say or what to do, love will tell you. “Love never fails.” That is good to know. Sometimes we can find ourselves over our head, in territory we’ve not been in before, wondering if we should agree or disagree, speak or listen, wait or walk. At that point, try love. It will likely give you the best response–or no response. And at some point, maybe the second time around, we might want to speak about a God who forgives if she asks about forgiveness.