I don’t normally share with others my views on political issues. I hate conflict and try to avoid it at all costs. Today, however, I am aching inside for the Church and for those within its body. My heart hurts for those who are caught in the middle of this through no fault, no decision, of their own. I am angry that, once again, a social/political issue is being used to divide those who have been working as the Church, doing what we are called to do…caring for one another.
I have read so many posts in the last 24 hours about World Vision and the change in their hiring policy, in order to allow those in legal same-sex marriages to work for their organization. I have read articles on both sides of the issue, and both sides make valid points. Articles that are well written, fully thought through, and full of compassion. They open up a way to engage the audience in gentle dialogue, trying to bridge a gap of understanding between people. And then I read the comments to those articles. Comments full of hate, comments full of rage, comments full of ignorance. This venomous poison is what is truly divisive in the church. Poison from both sides.
God is love. Isn’t that what we teach in our Sunday schools, in our churches? We are called to love our neighbor, to feed the poor, to take care of the orphans and the widows, and above all, to love the Lord our God. How can someone who calls themself a Christian be filled with so much hate for another? I can’t believe some of the things that “Christians” write. Comments from both sides that negate the worth of a human being. Comments that drip with hate and animosity…not towards sin itself, but towards the person. And when there is that much rage, that much hate…people stop listening. No one will hear your opinion, your opposition, if you are shouting. People will not care what you have to say if they can’t hear it over your hate.
We all have differing opinions and different interpretations of what the Bible teaches, on a variety of issues. I have what I believe, you have what you believe. What I know is that there is sin. Sin in talked about a great deal within the pages of the Bible. You and I are sinful creatures. Each of us deal with temptations, deal with brokenness, deal with rebelling against our Creator. From the time of the fall of Adam and Eve, humankind has been broken in sin. The world itself groans in agony over sin. That is why Jesus came to earth. To pay in full the debt that we owe due to our sin. To bridge the gap that sin created between God and us.
But who am I (and who are you?) to condemn, to judge? Who is to say that my sins are better or worse than yours? Is a my sexual sin greater than yours? Less than? Is it not as bad as cursing the name of the Lord? What about the idols of wealth and prosperity that I give so much of my time and energy to? Who am I to determine the weight of a sin, and to condemn someone to hell over that sin?
By all rights, none of us, NOT ONE, is worthy of redemption.
I love God, I have given my life to Christ. But I still struggle with sin, I still rebel against His love and mercy. I still make mistakes, still act out in sinful ways. If you were to judge me just on my thoughts and actions alone, well….please don’t. If we all looked at ourselves first, worked on the “log in our eye” before checking out the speck in others, we would have a lot less time on our hands to spend pointing the finger at everyone else in the world. You cannot possible know, possibly understand, the relationship that any individual person has with Christ. It is unique to every individual. If someone professes a faith in Christ, who am I to judge where they are in that relationship? I do not know their heart, nor do they know mine.
The only thing that I do know, with all certainty, is that redemption and forgiveness is found in Christ alone.
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to help one another when we notice our brother or sister is caught in sin. If you notice something in me that needs to be called forth? Bring it on. But we are charged to do that in love. Name-calling, condemnation, hate…that doesn’t work. We can’t engage in conversations…real conversation…without first having a relationship. A relationship built on loving one another in the way Christ taught us.
And how can we show a world of unbelievers what love Christ has for us if we are so filled with hate? How can we bring people to Christ if we are so busy poisoning people’s minds against Christianity? Those who do not know Christ will not WANT to know Him when they look at how so many Christians act towards one another. Hypocrisy is one of the big reasons people have such a negative view of Christians. And those unbelievers who use hate to attack Christians for their beliefs? “Love your enemies and pray for those who harass you.” ( Matthew 5:44) Do not engage in the same venomous tactics.
It saddens me as I listen and read the way we as a church body are becoming more divided, more polarized. And I do struggle with knowing what the right thing is to do, to say. My LGBT friends and family know that I love them, know that I care about them. We can have open dialogue because they know that I care. I care more about who they are at their core and their relationship with Christ than I do about their sexuality.
And those who are pulling their support from World Vision over this issue? Well, you have that right. But please don’t do so without prayerfully considering the ramifications of that action. Who are you hurting by doing so, quickly and rashly? At the very least, I would urge you to give a few months notice, so that another person can come alongside and take over the sponsorship of a child. Please don’t hurt this child, who has nothing to do with World Vision’s decision, in order to make a statement.