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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Can't We Just Get Along?

For the past three years or so, I have eagerly anticipated November and National Adoption/Orphan Awareness month. I have been passionate about advocating for adoption and for children who need families to step up and fold them into a loving home. But this year I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth, and I hesitate to write anything, because there is a whole lot of ugliness swirling around the topic of adoption right now. I have watched it build and build over the past few years, and it seems to be crescendoing as people, people who love Jesus and people who have even adopted children in the past, choose a side and spew judgments across the harsh lines that have been drawn in the sand. All one has to do is google adoption, or jump into an adoption forum, or search around a bit on facebook to find the missile launching - on both sides. Daily I see articles and blog posts circulating explaining how what we are doing is all wrong. (This is true of missions right now as well, and our family is lucky enough to be in the middle of both of these hot button issues.)

I feel the passion that God planted in my heart fizzling out. Somedays, I look around and see the words that people are slinging at each other, and I feel overwhelmed in what seems like a war of causes. Having adopted myself, I understand both sides of the coin. I look at my Jamesy and my Habi, and I understand that for them, adoption was the best solution to a really horrible situation. I also understand that it was not God's original intention for children to ever grow up an ocean away from their birth country or families - that He created families and desired for families to stay together. On the same hand, we face the reality that we live in a fallen, broken Genesis 3 world, and sometimes the best solution in this messed-up world really will be adoption. I truly do believe that adoption can be a breathtaking portrait of the gospel - a small reflection of the love God has for us. I also feel very strongly about trying to keep birth families together when at all possible, and I understand that poverty should not be a reason that a mother has to abandon her child. Family reunification and discipling families to be able to live in harmony together is biblical, and orphan prevention is vital.

I care about all of this. I really do. I care about the ethics in adoption and the integrity of adoption agencies and NGOs. But {gulp} I also care about adoption, and I think that it does have a very valuable and needed place. I have not turned a blind eye to the very real and very messy issues. I understand that there is no quick-fix - no easy answer. I believe that each child, each family, each case, each agency, each NGO, each ministry, each country, has to be looked at individually. There is no blanket answer that covers everything. There is no one answer or one way fits all.

Friends, I am tired of the mud-slinging, the name-calling, and the demeaning way we are putting down the passions and callings of our brothers and sisters, especially when it comes to this hot-button issue of adoption and orphan care. When we loudly wave our picket sign claiming that this is the best answer, the most gospel-driven, the most godly, the only way, it is then that Satan wins. He has us exactly where he wants us - brothers and sisters in Jesus facing off, teeth bared, blood boiling and arguing over causes. Rather than actually doing anything, so many of us are frozen on the battle field and have become immobile. He hates families, and seeks to destroy them, and if he can put a rift in the family of Jesus, then he is very quick and eager to do that.

I am feeling convicted about all of the time, the passion, the energy that is being poured into arguing the sides. I do believe there is a time and place to have some hard conversations regarding these issues, but mostly I believe that in a time in history when the body of Christ could be making such a huge difference for the kingdom, we are relegated to bullying our siblings....and sadly we do it in the name of Jesus.

Why can't we just get along? What if we just stopped? What if we took a deep breath, did our own research, and trusted the Holy Spirit to do exactly what He has promised to do in each of our hearts - individually. What if we stopped trying to be the Holy Spirit for each other? What if instead of demeaning the passions and callings of others, we championed them? What if we acted like the body that we were called to be and just put a stop to the judging and the justifying - the critiquing masked by "just wanting to help open her eyes"? What if each of us just carried out our unique, individual call in the work of the gospel and cheered as others did the same? What if we supported each other in building the kingdom?

I don't want to devalue his contribution or hers. I don't want to be in the middle of the picketing. This brings fear and can cause us to become paralyzed, and instead of becoming passionate about anything, we become fearful of everything. We become scared that we will do it wrong and mess this up, but God is so much bigger than that. He understands our hearts and our motives. Let's lay this down at His feet, and trust His Spirit to guide in this area of adoption and orphan care (and all areas). Let's cheer our brothers and sisters along in their call. Will we get everything right? No, we won't. It's not possible on this side of heaven. We are human, and we are flawed. We will try, and we will fail. We will get things beautifully right some of the time, and we will make a mess some of the time, and in it all He is sovereign and weaving and orchestrating a beautiful story that we are all written into. We serve the God of redemption, and He redeems even our messes and mistakes. This is such an exciting time to live! We have so many resources at our fingertips, and there is so, so much that we can do for the kingdom when we are unified. There is so much potential in the Church right now, and rather than squelching that potential, let's encourage it.

I am confessing my own sin in this area. I am dropping my picket signs, and I am linking arms - for the King and His kingdom. Will you join me?


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