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They’ll Know We Are Christians By How Much We Love to Hate

26 Mar

Church: simmer down now. This World Vision fiasco is out of control.

I’m going to keep this short. My take on the subject is simple. We cannot keep going like this.

People – people who claim to be Christ-followers themselves – are uttering actual sentences like, “There is no such thing as a gay Christ-follower.” What? What?!?! What Gospel supports that? Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to rescue us. While we were yet sinners, He died for us. How dare we point a finger at someone whom we deem more sinful than us and say that they are not worthy of claiming Jesus’ offer of salvation?

The world is watching and listening and reading, and when they hear such hateful, hypocritical crap, they are laughing – at best. At worst, they are swearing to never have anything to do with this religion for the rest of their lives.

This is a defining issue of our generation. Not because the LGBT community is more prominent than it has been throughout every preceding generation, but because today’s technology facilitates swift, violent, and public (although often anonymous) attacks on the LGBT community. We cannot keep going like this.

What would Jesus do if He was here in the flesh today? Matthew 26:52-53 springs to mind. How did Jesus respond when Peter cut off the arresting officer’s ear? He didn’t say, “Phew! Thanks, Peter. It’s a good thing you were here to stick up for me otherwise I totally would’ve been screwed.” No! He reprimanded Peter for his violent, hateful reaction. “Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. Don’t you know that I could ask my Father, and right away he would send me more than twelve armies of angels?” And then He heals the officer’s ear!

Do you get the contrast there? Peter is one of Jesus’ closest followers. He’s been by Jesus’ side all through His years of ministry. He’s clung to Jesus’ teaching and professed his devotion and love. And yet, when Peter responds with violence towards someone whom he perceives as a threat to Jesus’ authority, Jesus shuts him down. Jesus (with all authority on heaven and earth) doesn’t need Peter to jump in and save the day. Instead, Jesus turns and heals the guy who is about to lead Him off to His death.

Let’s back up one chapter to Matthew 25. Here Jesus gives a very clear defining standard for who will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Verse 24 says, “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created. When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.’” If Jesus was speaking these words today, He might add, “When I was gay, you were my friend.”

Sweet merciful heavens, I am not suggesting that Jesus was gay. I am proclaiming that He is heartbroken over how we treat marginalized people and we will be held accountable for it. He says as much a couple of verses later. The way we treat “the least of these”, is the same as treating Jesus Himself like that.

One of today’s “least of these” is the LGBT community. Not because of their sexual orientation, but because of how we have vilified them. We, the church, have made them the least. Shame on us.

I am not offering an opinion on World Vision’s decision. The circular arguments make my head hurt. I can’t imagine how overwhelming and crushing it is for those who are closely connected to WV and are now navigating through the hurricane of those discussions. This is where I stand: regardless of our personal opinion of how someone else’s sin stacks up against our own, we are not proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ when we continue to spew hateful, hypocritical condemnation.

Jesus’ authority is not threatened by World Vision’s policy change. So put your sword away.

I’m not going to leave this post open for comments (if I can figure out the technology of such restrictions). Not because I’m afraid of continuing the discussion, but simply because I refuse to be party to the backlash and fallout that is erupting on every single article and post that has addressed this issue over the past couple of days. We can’t keep going like this.

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