Today is World AIDS Day.
It’s always meant a lot to me, but this year, with one of my own family members suffering severely from complications due to the disease, my compassion/interest/sympathy is maximized.
I am thankful that I was raised in a home where AIDS was not a stigma. Some people have a cold, some people have cancer, some people have AIDS…and to tell you the truth, a cold is what I should be most afraid of—THAT I can actually catch from someone else.
However, at this stage in my life, with my mother serving as a chaplain in South Africa (where every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to this pandemic), with African Americans being 12% of the US population and yet 49% of the reported cases AND with 1.2 million Americans (15+) currently living with the disease, there is no way, as a humanitarian and a Christian, that I can’t be more active when it comes to being proactive in protecting people from contracting HIV/AIDS; something that, due to the ever-developing changes in modern medicine, people can live productive lives with…but at the same time, many of us can avoid contracting in the first place.
A lot of the time that I am blogging on here, I’m discussing the spiritual and emotional ramifications of making irresponsible sexual decisions, but today, I am using the small platform that I have been given to urge you to make wiser choices…for your physical well-being, as well. When the Bible says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10)…to me, that sounds like he comes to us to terrorize us, and when it comes to AIDS, as someone very close to me once said, “Having it isn’t the problem…it’s dying from it that’s so evil…so demonic.” The thing about a thief is that it comes to take something you have. A good thief doesn’t care what method he has to use, so long as he gets the results that he wants.
Just last week, I was reading two articles that made me very sad. One was about two bisexual twins who are taking Tila Tequila’s place on MTV’s ultra-popular (and disturbing) “reality” series, “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila”, which is the first show to feature a bisexual “star”. The new season will be entitled “A Double Shot at Love”. (…great.)
As I looked at a promo pic of the twins, two young and pretty blonde women, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Wow…what are the odds of two girls…sisters ending up bisexual and what steps in life led them to that path?” But what really caused me to pause and ponder was, “When are ‘we’ going to stop using the word ‘love’ so loosely?”
God is love. (I John 4:8) Love is patient, kind, not jealous or rude. It celebrates the good and not the evil. It doesn’t fail. (I Corinthians 13:4-8) A show where people who barely know each other are competing and fondling all over each other. Love? Really?
And then, I checked out an interview with Ashley Dupre’, the woman who, unfortunately is currently best-known for sleeping with the New York ex-governor, Eliot Spitzer. As she shared how “easy” it initially all seemed, how she always practiced “safe sex”… on some levels, I could see why it would make sense to do it…why it would have all seemed “no big deal”. If you like sex, what a cool way to make quick money, right? (It’s the Enemy’s job to make it appear that way.)
Oh, but who ever brags about being a prostitute? To even want to become one means there is a “big deal” going on in your life somewhere.
As I read deeper into the story, she shared her feelings of abandonment due to her brother running away from home when she was a child, how getting drunk (and high) while in Florida with “friends” led her to taking her clothes off for “Girls Gone Wild”, and how later in that same year, she was raped. “It caused me to disconnect—with sex, with real relationships.” (Sex was created to connect, by the way—Genesis 2:24)
And, the final (emotional) punch? When after all of that, she rationalized (a wise man once said “Rationalize can be spelled ‘rational-lies'”) that being an escort is no different than “going on a date with someone you barely know and hooking up with them…the only difference is I can pay my rent”, it really got me to thinking.
For many years, it was easy for a lot of people to judge…no condemn people who had HIV/AIDS. The ill logic was, “Well if you weren’t homosexual, a junkie or promiscuous you wouldn’t have to worry about such things.” (Blood transfusion victims, excluded.) But the stats reflect that this way of thinking is no longer the case. Faithful wives are getting it. 5-year-old children are living with it. People who have rededicated their lives, as a result of reaping and sowing, are discovering years later that they have it. We are now at a place where we have to wonder, “How many of them entered into an act or scenario that we think is ‘no big deal’ when the Enemy had other things in mind all along…how many things seemed entertaining like the MTV show or quick cash like Ms. Dupre’s side gig that ended up costing them greatly?”
I know we “like” to focus a lot on the “hellfire and damnation” side of sin when it relates to disobeying God, but when I looked today at pictures of children around the world battling with the disease, I think more than anything, it hurts God to see how much pain has come as the result of HIV/AIDS…many of it, as the direct result of poor decision making. He never wanted us pawing and clawing on national television. He never wanted us selling our bodies to the highest bidder. He never wanted us to “disconnect” from sex and people. And he never wanted us living in a world where 23,000 people died in the US in 2007 from one disease…a disease that, again, can be prevented from infecting many of us if we would just make better choices. (By the way, check out I Corinthians 10:8 as it relates to 23,000…pretty wild!)
And so, if this was a day of observance that you didn’t really pay close attention to because “you don’t have it” and/or “it’s not your problem”, as a woman who has had multiple partners (poor sex choices) and four abortions (surgical procedures) and is still living, healthy and sane enough to testify to the power of God’s goodness, I beg of you (and I’m preaching to myself as we speak), don’t mistake God’s grace for weakness. Many of us don’t have it and it’s not our problem, not because we made better choices than the people with the HIV/AIDS…God was simply merciful in spite of our disobedience. And, more importantly, don’t forget that if we love him, we must love those around us….there is no loophole there…healthy or sick, rich or poor, for better or for worse, we are to love.
Let this day be a reminder to us all that choices are powerful and so we must make wise ones…daily…for our sake, the sake of those around us…and the future that is to come.
Love…God’s way. It’s what covers—and protects.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”—I john 4:20 (NKJV)
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.”—Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV)
Link to World AIDS Day Observance: