I have come to the table late in the firestorm of World Vision’s previous decision to change their hiring policies regarding homosexual’s. Yesterday World Vision released a statement reversing this decision, but the firestorm rages on. I am personally brought to consider a variety of different things as I read others responses and comments of responses.
First, I have read some very fair and intelligent articles on every side of the discussion. People who are adamantly opposed to the idea of a Christian identifying organization who would hire homosexuals, people who want to approach the subject in the heart of reconciliation, and people who have no issue with World Visions briefly help hiring practice. What concerns me in many of the articles that I have read is the demonization of the opposing side.
We have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). I believe this means that look to see people, christian and nonchristian alike, in the way that Christ would see them. We should interact with the world in the same way Christ does. When we demonize people we bring condemnation, and Christ did not come to bring such condemnation. Christ came that we might find life, and live life abundantly. We must be incredibly careful how we engage sensitive subjects, especially those that people find a piece of identity in.
Jesus said “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). I bring this up not to say that you have to accept something you are convicted is against biblical teaching, but to say that love transcends a persons lifestyle choice. We must be about revealing Christ to everyone, those who profess Christ and those who do not, and how we do this is through our love of them.
When you love someone you peaceably dialogue with them, you try to be careful not to be hurtful, and you desire good for them. In many of the articles and comments I have read, I fail to see people who spout “biblical truth” acting this way. In the age of social media and the ability to provide unthoughtful social commentary, we forget that even in these moments we represent Christ. I wonder how well a lot of folks are representing him?
Second, it seems pretty clear to me that people may not know what World Vision really is. In the way the many people seem to be responding to the issue, it seems to me that many folks believe that World Vision is a church of sorts. Lets be clear World Vision is not the church, or a manifestation of the church.
By their own description here is what World Vision is: “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.” The result of their work is to bring relief to the poor.
This second point is the one that personally gives me much concern for many of the people writing articles and commenting on articles. World Vision is not the church, they are not suggesting that this be the stance of the church, nor are they bringing any sort of attack on the church. World Vision is a non-profit corporation, they are a business that collaborates with Christians of many different varieties. This in many cases will mean you have very broad sweeping policies. In many cases what I have read has equates the World Vision to the church and that simply isn’t so.
Here is the rub for me: organization like World Vision largely exist (this might sting a little) because the church as it exists all over the world is neglecting its responsibility to care for people. Christ’s commands are abundantly clear, that we should be proclaiming the Kingdom both in our words and our actions. The church should be advocating for the poor, bringing relief to injustice, caring for widows and orphans, visiting the imprisoned, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, the list goes on.
Many church bodies all over the world shrug off their responsibility to organizations like World Vision, then demonize them for things they disagree with. People call into question others standing with the Lord, and they proclaim that they are now less than Christian, yet when push comes to shove the people speaking the loudest might not be willing to take on their responsibility as a kingdom citizen.
Jesus regularly dealt with a group of people like this during his time on earth. The Pharisees were a group of people that liked to remind people of all the rules, and all the things that the law described as sin, yet when it came down to it they didn’t seem to care about their own violations of the law. Jesus dealt sternly with these guys, he was clear in calling our their hypocrisy. Often times I wonder if Jesus walked the earth in our cultural context, now many of us would be called out by Jesus.
I pray that as followers engage and every changing world with the Gospel, that they would do so in love and peace. I pray that as we deal with one another it would be in the reflection of Christ. I pray that we would speak the truth in love to one another, remembering it is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction. I pray that we would live in understanding with one another, seeking to be peacemakers through the Gospel.