Evangelicals Encouraged to Show God’s Grace to AIDS/HIV Victims

October 27, 2008 at 2:53 am Leave a comment

world-evangelical-assembly-thailand.jpgWhen HIV sufferers turn to the evangelical church, they are looking to
reconcile with God but instead find “closed doors and angry faces,”
says one Christian HIV sufferer.

Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga, a UNAIDS representative from Bolivia,
was speaking at a fringe meeting of the World Evangelical Alliance
General Assembly in Thailand on Saturday.

She told evangelicals there that demonstrating God’s grace and
mercy were as much part of an effective evangelical response to HIV and
AIDS as practical action.

Citing the biblical story of the prodigal son who receives his
father’s forgiveness despite squandering his wealth, she told of how
she had been received again by God and her physical father, a church
elder, after discovering she had HIV.

“God was not waiting for me with a list of questions – ‘Oh, why
did you do this?’ or ‘I told you this was going to happen.’ He came to
me and He held me and He helped me walk all the rest of the way until I
got home again. And so did my father,” Quiroga said.

“That is grace,” she pointed out. “Is the church doing this
now? That is my question to you, because I can tell you that the
experiences of most people living with HIV with the evangelical church
in particular is not so like the prodigal son.

“When they try to go back home and look for God because they
realize they will die soon and they go to the church, they don’t find
open arms and mercy and grace. They find questions …, which I don’t
think is what God wanted us to do with people with HIV.”

Quiroga urged evangelicals to demonstrate greater compassion towards those with HIV.

“If you were in the position of the person with HIV and you were
trying to look for God in the church, the place where people say God
is, and you find doors that are closed and faces that are angry with
you, how would you react?”

She warned that a negative attitude and the church’s inability
to speak about sex, drugs and other taboo issues made many HIV
sufferers reluctant to turn to the church, despite their desire to
reconcile with God.

“We can leave [difficult issues] to God because He will judge
that anyway but I think it is our calling to practice grace when it
comes to working on HIV and Aids,” she said.

Also at the meeting was Sally Smith, a civil society
partnerships adviser for UNAIDS who served as a BMS medical missionary
in Nepal for 16 years.

Source: Christian Post

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Entry filed under: Christian, Health, World. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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