Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Why You Should Respond in Love

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This past Monday World Vision announced through Christianity Today that they were making an organization policy change to permit the hiring of openly gay individuals who are legally married.

As you can imagine, people have had all kinds of reactions this week. Those who disagree with this move, have been vocal in their condemnation of World Vision.  And then in response to this condemnation those who agree with World Vision have condemned the ones who disagree.

Others declared that they would no longer support the organization financially. They would stop sponsoring their child. And then others have responded by condemning the ones who threaten to withdraw their money.

Then, only two days later, World Vision announced a reversal of the policy change. Not only did people threaten to withdraw their financial support, they did. It is believed that as many as 2,000 people in a 48 hour period were true to their threats by dropping sponsorships.

It seems that when we are angry, we have a lot to say. When we hate what somebody else is doing, we exercise our right to have and voice our opinion about what they are doing. Sometimes we even get angry enough to do something about it, like hanging on to the money we don’t need.

We respond quickly. We respond enthusiastically. We respond angrily.

Her Love for the Kids

I am currently reading a book titled Wish You Happy Forever by Jenny Bowen. Jenny is the founder and CEO of Half the Sky Foudnation.

After adopting a child herself, Jenny realized that orphans were not getting the care and attention they needed. Primarily they weren’t getting the love a growing and developing child needs to experience.

The lack of normal stimulation and interaction was negatively affecting how their brains developed.

My son. The day we met him. In the arms of his foster mom, who loved him.

My son. The day we met him. In the arms of his foster mom, who loved him.

After adopting one daughter, Jenny watched her change radically in the first year. Simply holding her and looking into her eyes and playing with her changed everything. Jenny decided she wanted the same kind of interaction for all of the orphaned children.

She started Half the Sky with that purpose. To help and to reach every orphan in China. Many doubted her, including herself, but the work was too important for her to give up. Too many kids needed it.

Jenny’s love for these kids demanded that she try. And her efforts have paid off.

I do not know how many kids Half the Sky’s programs have affected. I do know for certain that their efforts had a positive influence on two of my own children.

It Solves Nothing

Some of the stories Jenny has to tell in her book will make you angry. If they don’t, then something is wrong with you. They certainly made Jenny angry.

She found children locked away in dark basements. She found children with signs of physical abuse such as burned feet. She found children with raw sores on their hips where soggy cloth diapers had been tied too tight.

Jenny brought one girl, Jingli, into her home to help her obtain the medical care she needed. When she first arrived, Jenny gave her a bath and discovered something that filled her with rage. And this is how Jenny responded.

Jingli’s little bottom, her entire genital area, was a mass of red, oozing sores, deep and surely painful. The poor child had been sitting in her own waste for months, maybe years.

An angry lump rose in my throat. My breath caught. I closed my eyes. Behind my closed eye lids I saw Anya’s burned feet, the diaper scars…all the hungry, tied babies…their blank little faces. I felt anger burning in my chest.

Don’t. It solves nothing. Let it go. What is changing is that I can do something now. I can help.

What she saw deserved her anger. But Jenny did something better than to express it. She chose to love.

And through love, she has been able to make a difference.

How We Influence Others for Good

I understand why so many have responded so negatively. I understand that some, like me, supported the change while it lasted and were angry to see the reversal. I understand why people on both sides became angry.

But my real opinion on this announcement is that it isn’t something worth being mad about. It just isn’t. It doesn’t deserve this much time. It doesn’t deserve this much energy.

And being angry about it doesn’t do any good. And being angry about those who are angry about it doesn’t do any good either.

Even the things that deserve our anger, like finding sores on the genitals of an orphan, do not improve with our anger. They only get better when we love. And then out of love we choose to do something good.

The greatest injustices in our world do not change when we choose to be angry. They only change when we choose to love. When we reach out with open arms. When we seek to influence through relationships instead of angry words. When we become friends instead of choosing to be enemies.

The work that Half the Sky does is good. The work that World Vision does is good. I don’t care who works for them. I would support them both. I will support anybody who seeks to do good in this world.

I heard Bob Goff recently say that we won’t be remembered for our opinions. We will be remembered for our love.

Choosing to lend a hand in love is always good. It always leads to a better story.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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13 Replies

  1. DanKnight

    I’m surprised that you “supported the change while it happened and [are] angry with the reversal”, and disagree with that position.

    While I’m sure we could have a great debate over this issue face to face, I suspect we’d find much more important things to discuss and challenge each other with, such as finding creative ways to live out God’s love in out lives.

  2. Talia

    yep. this is good.

  3. Actually I’m not angry at all. I understand why some are though. I probably wouldn’t debate anyone about it. I just don’t think the issue is worth the time we give it. There are much more important things. World Vision helping kids is incredibly important. Loving my neighbor is incredibly important. If I focus on that, I’ll have plenty to keep me busy with.

  4. Sabine

    It is easier to get angry than to love. To get angry, just let speek your feelings. But to love, we have sometimes to overcome anger and to forgive. Then love can have fruits which last. Anger just lets the gap of what could have been done, would love have spoken to bring wisdom…

  5. Thanks for this comment. We often forgive because we are supposed to, but it’s better when we forgive out of love.

  6. DanKnight

    Agreed! I guess I miscommunicated my first post: I see a vast difference between disagreement and anger. I like Sabine’s comment: anger is giving vent to feelings. Far better – and harder- to do something constructive, either to forgive where forgiveness is unasked, or to find a loving response to whatever is stirring your feelings.

    I can’t really understand why some folks are angry at WV either for their initial decision nor their reversal. In fact while not a fan of their initial decision I’m less a fan of their reversal. Organization like WV need to focus on the good work they are doing and not get sucked into debating and capitulating to political firestorms of the day. I assume the initial decision was not made lightly, nor should the reversal come so quickly.

    It’s fairly obvious that fear – of losing supporters – led to the reversal: Fear should have no controlling place in works of love.

  7. Megan Wright

    Thanks for putting the orphan back in our view and the controversy in its proper place. Jenny and Jingli are worth our time and learning about her response of the spirits love out of her rightful anger is what Christ always does and what he calls us to do. Thanks

  8. ljc

    Well said! Thank you.

  9. Love that Bob Goff quote. And that also sounds like a really good book. I’ve added it to my “watch for a sale” list. Thanks!

  10. I love how you randomly show up these days because your access to Internet is limited because you are up to something good.

  11. I usually read a few posts at a time… but only comment on the first one so I don’t comment-bomb ya.

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