Every person knows or will know at least one individual infected by HIV/AIDS. That means every church in the United States and around the world will come face-to-face with the on-going tragedy. It has been said, “Give me one good reason why I should care?” With regard to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there are millions of reasons to care.
In my personal travels to churches of all denominations, when I share where we remain in the global crisis with regard to HIV/AIDS, those in attendance are shocked to hear present day facts. I, for one, will continue to hope and pray that Christians will play a more vital role in turning back the tide of this pandemic. I truly believe, in this moment, God has called us to respond. God has given us Biblical principles to halt HIV infections and to bring hope to those whose lives have been devastated by this deadly disease. The Church can be a powerful tool in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and ministering hope to those infected.
When I meet people with HIV/AIDS, it doesn’t matter to me how they got it. All that matters is that they are human beings whom God loves so much and asks us to love too. Ultimately, we must talk about HIV/AIDS. Why? Because this is about people and not just an issue. In the name of decency, true compassion, humanity and the sanctity of life (all life), the truth cannot and must not be ignored or suppressed with what continues to unfold regarding HIV/AIDS. Peoples’ lives are not made better physically, psychologically, spiritually or socially as a result of ignoring or unwillingness to talk about a real, true crisis of our time.
HIV/AIDS is a disease that impacts real people and their loved ones who must learn to face this together because no one can face it alone. People facing HIV/AIDS do better when they know what to expect on the journey. They do best when they don’t have to find their way alone. The journey begins with “talking about it.”
Without fail, every individual and every family member I have ever met impacted by HIV/AIDS asks, “How do you get through this?” What they are really saying is, “I don’t know how I’m going to survive this.”
I pray that you will see “no one except Jesus” (Matthew 17:8), holding out His arms to assure you of His love and understanding. He alone can meet your needs, wipe away the tears, heal the wounds, comfort the hurts, and cleanse.
With HIV/AIDS comes the very real resolution of emotional issues such as anger, loneliness, guilt, humiliation and fear.
Are we, God’s people, not compelled to share His love with others? Personally, I can’t think of any group that needs to experience His love more than people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Jesus would listen to them, laugh with them, and weep with them. He would always be with them. Their fathers and mothers might forsake them, but He would never do that.
While HIV/AIDS is seen by many as a disease of death, it can also teach how to really live. Indeed, God is bigger than all of life’s problems and troubles. He is bigger than AIDS.
I, for one, remain determined to continue raising visibility and openness about the disease as a way of reducing the stigma and calling the Church worldwide to a Christ-like response to the heartbreaking faces of AIDS. The need and the opportunity remains great for the Christian community to take the lead in responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis with conviction and compassion.
Christian, you are uniquely qualified to bear witness to the world that the One who defeated death offers us the principles and the power to defeat HIV/AIDS.
Today, there remains a world crying out for hope.
Jesus continues to call His Church worldwide to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic through a message of Christian hope and compassion. HIV/AIDS is not the end.
People facing HIV/AIDS do better when they know they don’t have to find their way alone.
Pastor Phillip Lee