AIDS IS THE ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME - A SERIOUS ILLNESS THAN CAN CAUSE DEATH.
AIDS IS CAUSED BY A VIRUS CALLED "HIV" (HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS). HIV WEAKENS THE BODY'S IMMUNE SYSTEM (ITS DEFENSE AGAINST DISEASE).
HIV AND AIDS ARE WORLDWIDE PROBLEMS, AFFECTING MILLIONS OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
The first thing for us to remember is that Jesus NEVER refused help or treatment to ANYONE that sought it... lepers, blind, crippled, deaf... Jesus helped everyone.
WHY SHOULD I AS A CHRISTIAN LEARN ABOUT AIDS?
Because Jesus calls on us to respond with love to everyone, especially those who are suffering.
"FOR I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU GAVE ME FOOD. I WAS THIRSTY AND YOU GAVE ME SOMETHING TO DRINK... I WAS SICK AND YOU TOOK CARE OF ME..." MATTHEW 25: 35 - 36
People with HIV and AIDS have many physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The more we learn about HIV and AIDS, the better we able we are to respond with love.
"YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." MATTHEW 22:39
People with HIV and AIDS need compassion... However, certain fears have limited our response as Christians.
In Jesus' time, lepers and others who were will or disabled were also treated as outcasts because of these same fears.
But Jesus' response to the ill and disabled was full of compassion, healing and acceptance - not condemnation, fear or rejection. Jesus set the example for us to follow.
"ALL THOSE WHO HAD ANY WHO WERE SICK WITH VARIOUS KINDS OF DISEASES BROUGHT THEM TO HIM; AND HE LAID HIS HANDS ON EACH OF THEM AND CURED THEM." LUKE 4:40
Our love for ourselves and our neighbors is a direct reflection of our love for God. For more understanding of human suffering and its relationship to God, read: PSALMS 103, THE BOOK OF JOB, MATTHEW 4:23-25, MARK 2:1-12, LUKE 8:43-48, AND JOHN 9.
Jesus responded with love to all people in need. Today Jesus' loving presence continue to guide and inspire us.
"TRULY I TELL YOU, JUST AS YOU DID IT TO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY, YOU DID IT TO ME."
JESUS CALLS ON US TO:
BE LOVING... GOD'S LOVE IS BOUNDLESS. FOR US TO EXPERIENCE AND SHARE GOD'S LOVE, WE MUST NOT LIMIT OUR OWN LOVE.
READ MATTHEW 25:31-46, MARK 3:1-5, LUKE 6:37-38 AND ROMANS 13:8-10
LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES. JESUS' WORDS AND DEEDS INSPIRE US TO LOVE AS HE LOVED - TO RESPOND TO THOSE IN NEED AS JESUS DID.
READ MATTHEW 22:34-40, MARK 12:28-34, LUKE 10:25-37 AND JOHN 13:34-35
BUILD PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE... JESUS' LIFE PROCLAIMED THAT HUMAN RIGHTS, DIGNITY AND PEACE COME FROM GOD - WE ARE STEWARDS OF THESE GIFTS.
READ MATTHEW 5:1-12, MARK 10:17-25, LUKE 4:18-19, AND JOHN 8:1-11
ANSWER JESUS' CALL... REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE WITH HIV AND AIDS - AND THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS AND CAREGIVERS - IS A WAY FOR EACH OF US TO GROW IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.
HIV AND AIDS CONFRONTS US WITH SEXUALITY, DISEASE, DISCRIMINATION AND DEATH - ISSUES WE MAY FEAR AND TRY TO AVOID.
BUT IF WE ARE TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVED, WE EACH MUST FACE THE ISSUES OF AIDS.
WHEN YOU PRAY, ASK:
HOW WOULD JESUS RESPOND TO A PERSON WITH HIV OR AIDS?
HOW WOULD I RESPOND IF A RELATIVE OR FRIEND HAD HIV OR AIDS?
HOW WOULD I WANT OTHERS TO RESPOND TO MY RELATIVE OR FRIEND?
HOW WOULD I WANT OTHERS TO RESPOND IF I HAD HIV OR AIDS?
HOW CAN MY CHURCH RESPOND TO PEOPLE WITH HIV AND AIDS AND HOW CAN I HELP?
SO... RESPONDS TO HIV AND AIDS AS JESUS WOULD - WITH LOVE!
LEARN MORE ABOUT HIV AND AIDS
PRAY TO GOD FOR STRENGTH, PEACE AND UNDERSTANDING
INCLUDE PEOPLE WITH HIV AND AIDS, THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS AND CAREGIVERS IN YOUR CHURCH'S MINISTRY.
WORK FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR ALL PEOPLE, AND STRIVE TO END FEAR AND DISCRIMINATION.
TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT, DIGNITY AND COMPASSION.
"THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU." JOHN 15:12
AND REMEMBER... THERE IS HOPE!
"FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, SO THAT EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM MAY NOT PERISH BUT MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE." JOHN 3:16