I’ve been avoiding this topic; not because I don’t have anything to say, rather I’m not sure how to say what I want to say. So maybe the best way to say this is to just speak from a sincere and open heart.
I’m struggling with my attitude and emotions.
I’m hurt, angry, and confused.
Last week, a huge announcement came forth from World Vision, informing the public that they would hire people who were legally married to a same-sex spouse. The entire internet erupted.
One side rejoiced at the seemingly landmark move. One side started boycotting in disdain over World Vision’s announcement.
And then things really got ugly. About 48 hours later, World Vision reversed it’s announcement, and apologized to the Christian community for their wrong doing. The policy to not hire people married to the same-sex went back into effect.
One side rejoiced at the news, once again claiming a victory. One side was furious, being once again dejected.
My reason for writing this post isn’t to debate gay marriage. In fact, my intension extends beyond gay marriage.
I love the Church. I’m a part of the Body of Christ. I believe in the Church, and I refuse to step away from it or give up on it. I know we can be better. I know we can love better. I know we can imitate Jesus better than we’ve been doing.
From all sides, what I saw of the Church last week deeply angered me. For a moment, I was ashamed to be a Christian. Where is the likeness of Christ in all of this, I thought. How are people experiencing the gospel and hope of Christ?
Once again, the value of a certain people group was reduced to a category of sin. We continue to forget, that while Jesus called out sin, He first and foremost saw the person before Him as a person He created, and intended to die for. Jesus moved towards us because of His deep love and rich mercy for us. He wasn’t repelled by our sin, nor did He demand total repentance and transformation before feeding and healing people. Christ saw people, their need for Him, and He acted out of compassion.
Being those who reflect His image and glory, shouldn’t we act in the same manner towards others, regardless of who they are and how they behave?
For the past week, I have been going over four particular verses:
2 Timothy 2:24-26 - And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
1 Peter 3:15 - but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
1 Timothy 1:15-16 - The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
Matthew 9:36-38 - When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
I sure this week that several hundred people walked away from Jesus, not because they didn’t want Him but because they didn’t want us. People saw a form of Jesus that repelled them, and they concluded, if this is what Christianity is, then count me out. I’ve said the same thing. I have friends and family members who say the same thing. The fact that people walk away from Christ, because of us, pains my heart. I seriously lose sleep over it sometimes.
I was listening to Christian radio today. Artist were singing songs about being the Body of Christ, and radically loving others, and shining our light for the world to see. Some of these songs are sung during Sunday mornings. And as I was listening, all this emotion came up. We seem to forget what we profess and who we understand Jesus to be when push comes to shove. We tend to still choose the mantra “us vs them,” instead of “us and Him.” And for some of us, this happens unintentionally, though there are those who are very intentional about putting up this divide. But why?
I’m a man who desires to humbly and honestly reflect Christ in all that I say, think, and do. I’m a man who desires my brothers and sisters in Christ to pursue the same character of Christ.
We’re struggling though. So, what are we going to do about it?