Many readers have followed with interest this week’s announcement by World Vision to allow married partners of the same sex to work in the organization (whose headquarters is in Washington state, which approved same-sex marriage in 2012), and then promptly reversed its decision two days later. It seems that churches are not the only entities dealing with this very sensitive and highly volatile issue. In WV’s initial announcement, as reported by WND (http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/famous-christian-charity-hiring-married-gays/#eyOB1hKOwgoZF9MZ.99), it stated the organization wanted to stay out of the fray that is “tearing the Church apart.”
Never have I been more acutely aware of this destructive dilemma than the numerous times I have spoken directly with self-proclaimed gay Christians, who (the ones I have spoken with) very sincerely desired to do the Lord’s will in all matters of their lives, including their sexuality. As much as I do not believe we can change the Bible’s definition of sin in this area (I trust the Bible to be the inspired word of God for all time), I feel great empathy for those LGBT individuals who seem to be seeking God just as earnestly as I try to do.
WND’s news story of WV’s reversal (http://www.wnd.com/2014/03/world-vision-reverses-decision-to-hire-married-gays/) quoted blogger Rachel Held Evans, who on Tuesday was encouraging readers to donate to World Vision to make up for supporters who were pulling their donations, and then yesterday found herself apologizing to her readers, saying that she was:
“deeply, profoundly sorry that I inadvertently rallied these fundraising efforts in response to a decision that would ultimately be reversed. … This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost … I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side.”
Evans’ remarks leave me truly mournful, as does WV’s apologetic comment that it never intended to create harm or pain. Both sides, I believe, are very sincere, but because we generally don’t meet face to face on such issues, sincerity too often gets lost in assumptions.
I also want to say to Rachel Evans: “Yes, unfortunately you are right, there is a remnant of the Evangelical community that feels disdain toward LGBTs—and for that I sincerely apologize to you and to all LGBTs.” This response on the part of misguided Evangelicals is terribly wrong. However, I also am compelled to add that not all Evangelicals feel disdain or contempt toward the LGBT community, and it is unfair to cast all of us into the same lump. I, specifically, do not harbor such emotions, nor do I believe that Richard Stearns (WV), Franklin Graham, or many other leaders and lay individuals feel this way. What I feel – and I daresay these other individuals feel – is sorrow over the brokenness of this world, in which we all take part by association with the first sinners (Adam and Eve) as well as our own propensity to sin.
I have been pondering how to end this blog for hours. Answers to this dilemma do not come easily to anyone. What comes to my mind is this: We are all sinners in the eyes of God, in need of forgiveness. Thanks be to God that Jesus Christ showed compassion to the lost in His midst during His time on earth, especially in His death on the cross where He willingly bore all our sins upon Himself in order to reconcile us to God.