So, I spent most of my New Years watching the preview Oprah’s OWN network, as I’m sure many of you did. And eventually, I was moved to tears. This often happens when I watch Oprah. But this time, they weren’t tears of joy, excitement, or even sadness. They were tears of hurt and disgust.
I happened to catch the episode of Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes where her producers were planning Oprah’s visit back to Williamson, WV. In 1987, Oprah took her show to Williamson to hold a town hall meeting on HIV/AIDS. A local, gay man, Mike Sisco, had moved back home to spend time with family after been diagnosed with the disease. On a hot summer day, Sisco decided to go for a swim in the local pool. The town flew into outrage. The mayor shut the pool down. And soon the small West Virginia town had made national news.
My heart completely shattered as I watched clips of the 1987 episode. The anger and hatred these people showed was unbelievable. My mouth dropped and my eyes filled with tears as I watched these people spew unadulterated hate at this dying man. These were his neighbors. They were self-proclaimed “good” folks. And of course they wore Christianity on their sleeves. That was my breaking point.
I once heard someone say, “Some people would be better off not telling anyone that they’re a Christian because they do God more harm than good.” That was my exact feeling as I watched the citizens of Williamson, many of who hadn’t changed their minds by the 2010 episode.
Why do people attempt to justify their fears and hate by throwing God in the mix? Why do individuals feel it necessary to be God’s judge, jury, and executioner? Why do worshipers of an all-loving God and a super compassionate Savior find it so hard to show that love and compassion to others?
I’ve always been disgusted by “Christians” who spew hate in lieu of love. You know, the one’s who protest at funerals, bomb abortion clinics, and are quick to condemn those who don’t meet their expectations of “Godliness”. If Jesus was sent to earth not only to die for our sins but also to model how we should live, why don’t we self-proclaimed Christians follow His lead?
Jesus didn’t condemn and convict people into the Kingdom; He loved them in. Yes, sin was very black and white to Him, but He also extended love and compassion to everyone.
So today, make a decision. If you’re going to represent God, please be a good PR agent. Reflect His loving kindness and compassion and allow Him to handle the rest. He gave you Jesus as a model. Just do what He would do!