So…the World Vision fiasco. Certainly you’ve heard of it by now. A few days ago, World Vision executives made a public decision to amend their hiring practices to include married gay couples, but then reversed their decision after a vehement outcry arose against it.
Understandably, this decision and un-decision has drawn fire from constituents from all over the religious and political map. My intention in this posting is not to pick a side or defend a cause. Rather, I would like to address a heart-breaking dynamic that immediately sprouted in the aftermath of the decisions.
On the heels of the World Vision reversal, some angry Christians lit up the online discussion boards with vitriolic tirades against gay people. Yes, it was World Vision’s decision that instigated the reactions, but many of these replies went beyond a critique of World Vision to the castigating of the entire gay community (granted, these types of replies went both ways, but as a Christian, my concern in this post is with my fellow Christians).
I do not believe that those hostile replies are indicative of the hearts and souls of most Christians. I do not believe that the church looks like its mean, homophobic stereotype. I believe that Christians are caring, loving, and concerned, and that they are attempting to wrestle through complicated issues of faith and sexuality with a compassionate, biblical worldview.
When a Christian’s hostile posture turns a person off from listening to God’s message through Christ, we need to humbly evaluate that posture. Even strong, prophetic messages that call people to repentance and right living before God can be laced with compassion and love. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet.” Isaiah interspersed his judgment prophecies with messages about the Messianic hope.
Yes, we can, and must, uphold whatever standards we believe to be the most biblical on a given subject. However, we should strive to do so in a winsome way that extends the Gospel’s reach rather than alienating the very people who need it most (and my name tops that list).
At the center of the Gospel is an invitation from God to all broken and hurting people. He is calling us home.