We Heard There Would be Protesters.
A month ago, Feed My Sheep Founder and President, Dr. John Sanford, was compelled to share with his team how important it is to be compassionate. He said, “We need compassion for kids, who are vulnerable…for parents, who have been silenced, bullied, abused, confused, in anguish, and are despairing and desperate…for teachers…” He pointed out just how many people need compassion. It was not very long before his words were put to the test.
This past weekend, Feed My Sheep Foundation was invited to provide a parenting conference for a church in Upstate NY. This church had recently hosted us for an introduction seminar on gender and sexuality, and the parents desired further conversation on these topics to better equip them to parent in today’s world.
A couple of days before the conference, local BLM activists heard about the conference and began to rally folks to join them to protest of our event. We were declared “A Hate Group Seminar” and likened to Westboro Baptist Church. One commenter wrote, “I would gladly rip up another Bible in full demon drag protest for these people…”
When I heard about this, I felt nervous that I wouldn’t be there to help my colleague as she presented these important topics. I felt nervous for the parents who were sincerely seeking information on how to raise their children in a world promoting harmful and destructive perspectives on identity. Would they still come if they had to walk through a wall of angry protestors?
Then, I spoke with my colleague who would be presenting. She seemed just fine. She laughed as she mentioned, “Maybe I am just too busy to be worried.” She explained that she had reached out to the pastor of the church to see how they could serve the protesters. She kept wondering, “How can we show these people the love of Christ?”
We began discussing our desire to have real conversations with the protestors. We shared our desire to listen to their hurt and anger. We prayed for an opportunity to love them and show them compassion. I remembered Dr. Sanford’s words and realized how timely they had been.
It turns out God had prevented the protest from becoming much of anything, and only a couple of people showed up. The pastor of the church hosting the conference offered the protestors coffee and donuts. The parents had no trouble accessing the conference and all went well.
Why do I feel compelled to share all of this? Because Christ loved the hurting, lost, and broken. He showed immense compassion. He had meals with those whom society had cast out. He healed the blind and those deemed unclean. Most of all, He extended forgiveness. But Christ never failed to speak truth into the lives of those around him. Yes, these intense truths brought sin to light. However, He spoke these truths because He knew that truth was the only way to free humanity from their sin. We must always remember that love without truth is no love at all.
At Feed My Sheep, we are just Christ followers. We desire to honor Christ in the way we navigate our broken world. We don’t do this perfectly, but we desire and try to show compassion to all who are caught in the world’s current crisis of identity. And we share this short story with you today in hopes it may encourage you to do the same.