I have thought long and hard about this for several days. I started a blog post yesterday. Then I deleted it. Then I started another one. Then I deleted that one too. So here I am, trying again. We’ll see how it goes.
First of all, a quick summary for those who live under a rock (kidding, mostly): World Vision is the second largest charity organization listed with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), only outdone by the Salvation Army. Just a few days ago, they made a policy change and announced it to everyone: they will now recognize same-sex marriage as acceptable under its national employment conduct policy. As long as the employees abstained from sex before marriage, spouses of a same-sex marriage could now be employed by the organization. They did not want to “get involved” in the complicated theological discussion, and claimed that this was not their personal endorsement of same-sex marriages.
Um, okay. We’ll deal with that part later.
Naturally, the people of America exploded. Some with support, some with anger. Many were excited that such a large Christian organization were now “tolerant” of same-sex marriages. Many Christians took to their social media sites to applaud this move. But then, many Christians immediately reacted with such anger that they immediately dropped their support of their sponsored children.
After just two days, World Vision made an announcement that they had reversed their decision and issued a “sincere” apology.
Alright, so these are the rough details. I encourage you to read some of the facts surrounding this if you didn’t know before you jump to any conclusions….just in case I didn’t paint a clear picture of it here. And please know as you read this, that I am still very much so immature when it comes to dealing with the “sticky” issues of our times. I highly value the opinions of those around me, so if yours is different than mine I would LOVE to see your comment on this post. (Just keep it polite, please.)
If you ask me, the CEO/Board who made this decision should be immediately relieved of their positions. How in the world can you have such a strict policy that you will fire an employee for not believing in the Trinity, yet think that it is okay to recognize “same-sex marriage” as acceptable conduct? And why would you make such a huge announcement over it? To me, this whole thing was nothing but a politically motivated, financially motivated, PR stunt. In fact, it was a PR stunt directly orchestrated by the enemy, because the whole world is on fire over it. You now have the LGBT community lamenting over how judgmental Christians are and how much they persecute others. “Look at how pushy those intolerant Christians are.” “They are not following the example of Christ because they are so hateful.” Good gracious, the comments I’ve read on some of these blogs and news articles are enough to make me want to hide in a cave for the next fifty years.
Problem is, the PR stunt didn’t go as planned, because right after they announced the policy change over 2,000 children lost their sponsors. So OF COURSE the natural response would be to issue a moving apology to the Church, reassure everyone that they did not think this through, and reverse their decision.
Surprisingly though, my issue is not just with World Vision. My issue is also with the Church, and how we as a body of “believers” handled this. Because the truth is, some of those comments I’ve read about how hateful the Church acted were kind of accurate.
Over 2,000 children lost their sponsors in just two days. I have traveled to Peru. I have spent a week with the types of children these sponsorships program help feed. I have walked their nasty streets and washed my hands in their dirty water. I have played soccer with the kids who don’t have sponsors yet. The kids who have to wait outside in the dirt and heat while the sponsored kids get to go inside and eat their meals.
And I wonder to myself…..should the Church’s response have been to immediately drop their sponsorships? Because you aren’t really punishing anyone except those poor children. Sure, some of your money goes to the administrative costs, but most of it truly does go to the kids. And what will they see? Will they see the “issues” surrounding their lost sponsorship? I’ll answer that for you: no. All they will see is a sponsor that used to write them letters….who used to send them birthday and Christmas presents….who used to pray for them and tell them about Jesus….gone. Just like that. Gone.
What I think we should have seen happen is this:
a) The Church should have been unified on this. I can’t stand knowing that so many pastors and “Christians” rallied around World Vision’s decision in the first place. I expect the secular world to applaud their decision, but the Church? Really?? If we can’t be unified on something as big as same-sex marriage, then what in the world are we doing??
b) Rather than dropping sponsorships, we should have waited first. We should have profusely rebuked the decision. We should have written letters, made phone calls, stuffed their e-mail inboxes with Scripture. Not with angry rants and “shame on you’s.” Scripture. Because at the end of the day, we can give our opinions all we want, but Scripture is the only Truth we have. And by wielding the Sword of the Word of God, we are able to have a righteous and pure anger, and not a selfish attitude.
c) If Scripture did not change their hearts, then churches should have started issuing public statements of their disapproval. We should have made it very clear where we stand. We should have done this with all the love and kindness we could muster. And then we should have started providing information on other charities that were available for us to support that upholds God’s Word.
d) But I still believe that even if after all of that, World Vision continued to stand on its policy change, we should have prayed long and hard before cancelling our sponsorships. Really, really, really pray. Because deciding to no longer support orphans and the neediest our world has is a big decision.
I personally do not sponsor a child through World Vision…..my little Indian girl is through another sponsorship program. But I think of what I would do if the organization that handles her sponsorship would have done something so selfish and stupid. Right now, I think I would still have sponsored her. She is almost fourteen years old….so very close to finishing her education and doing great things in her country. I don’t know if I could just stop supporting her and hope that her life turns out okay. I think of those poor little ones in Peru that had to wait outside while their friends went inside to eat. Would she ever get a good meal again? Would she finish school? Would she go on to do great things? Of course, God holds each of us in His hands, and so hopefully her life would still turn out just fine. But I made a commitment to this little girl, and I do not think I would have the heart to break that commitment, despite my intense displeasure with the organization over the sponsorship.
I hate that the poorest, most helpless beings on our planet got caught up in such a political, nasty battle. A battle that they may not even know exists as they walk down the dirty streets looking for food. I hate that World Vision made such a poor decision and put so many at risk. But I also hate that the Church reacted in such anger and made over 2,000 brash decisions.
And it’s got me thinking…..I don’t know if World Vision’s apology to the Church is genuine. Did they truly realize their mistake and repent? Or did they realize how much money their organization lost and try to put a band-aid on the issue my issuing the apology? I suppose, we will never really know now.
But guys, if we call ourselves a Christian, then we’ve got to get unified on this. So now it’s your turn. What do you think? Am I just totally off the mark on this? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this one!
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the Church. Then if he or she won’t accept the Church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” ~Matthew 18:15-17