Thursday, January 21, 2010

To Hell In A Haiti Basket

200,000 estimated dead from the Haitian earthquake.
250,000 estimated injured.

Such devastation, and yet the statistics don't end with these numbers. With the potential for infectious disease looming the death and displacement numbers will likely skyrocket. For me it's heart wrenching.

But these statistics aren't nearly as disgusting as what I've seen in some Christian circles.

Here is a glimpse into the Christian conversations I've heard and seen.

Is this God's judgement on Haiti? (due to voodoo practices) This must be their call to repent.

Why should we help Haiti now? They've been content with poverty and lack of government as their standard. It's not our job to bail them out.

This is God's mercy - bringing death - to Haiti. (That's right, they're poor, put them out of their misery. Oh, and while we're at it, my grandma is in Hospice care. Let's help her out of her misery, too...)

I've had enough of this ridiculousness. Look again at the girl in the picture. Ask her if she need our flawed human intellect. Or does she need water, food, shelter, hope?

Pick nearly any moral cause and somewhere there's sweat dripping off the brow of those fighting against it. Yet here we have possibly the greatest natural disaster (in terms of causalities and displacement) we've seen in recent history and obscured theology threatens to override action.

Regardless of who we are, or any questions we have, one pivotal issue cannot be ignored: God loves the people of Haiti. Is there corruption in that country? Yes. Is the country riddled with poverty? Absolutely. Do voodoo and witchcraft practice obscure? No doubt. While spiritually these issues are significant it doesn't change the fact that Jesus came for the sick, the ones who need Him most.

Like many I wondered, "Why Haiti?" I think that's a normal question in the face of such suffering. There will always be circumstances that prompt us to ask God, "Why?" Yet, does knowing the answer to that question change our response? I hope not. Our job as Believers is to pray, to give, to serve, to love. Entertaining judgement over the circumstance accomplishes none of these. We are to be Jesus Christ to the hurting, regardless.

Action will always outweigh reflection. While contemplation is valid and allows us to learn, if we camp out there, we can spend too long sitting on our haunches and forget to do anything. Is it wrong to want to understand what happened in Haiti? No. But if understanding is our goal we're headed to hell in a Haiti basket.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58

18 comments:

Curtis Honeycutt said...

Amen, Sister Stacy. At Grace the whole sermon was about Haiti this past weekend...you will hear me interview-style during part of it. Worth a listen...LINK

Helen said...

Does God still love us when we struggle with pride?
Does God still love us when we struggle with addiction?
Does God still love us when we struggle with sexual sin?

What I don't understand is how someone can say of course to those questions, but the question

Does God still love people when they struggle with superstition? leaves them saying God is punishing them.

You are right. God loves the people of Haiti. We ought to love them too, all the more because they need Spiritual as well as physical help.

Stacy from Louisville said...

Curtis - so funny that you are the first to comment. When I saw your I Cor twit this morning I added it to the bottom of this post. We're an awesome team.

Stacy from Louisville said...

Helen - Love what you said. As if America isn't as depraved. We are, we just wear more expensive clothing - and like it.

Karen Osler said...

Well done! I was working night shift in the ER and I explained our last Haiti trip like this : I went in to help the sick, but after watching them , with nothing, openly singing and praising God, I realized I was the sick one!" My friend said "Why are you going back?" I replied "I feel spoiled inside, need to go see the doctor". I would pray with patients after I treated them with my tiny pills and they would comfort ME and smile and say "That is the best medicine, prayer". I thing God has big beautiful things planned. It hurts now but great things are coming for Haiti. I feel it!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Preach it, Stacy. When people ask "why Haiti?" I just want to scream "why NOT Haiti? And what does it matter?" God loved my dad in the throes of Alzheimer's. He loves my friend fighting breast cancer. He loves me in my prideful, sinful, selfish ways.

Oh no, He'll never let go - of Haiti, your grandmother, you, or me. Now, back to our regularly scheduled (and unscheduled) praying. Thanks for this post. Thanking God for you.

Raw Faith Real World said...

I agree Stacy. My heart breaks for the people... the sheer loss and human suffering in a country that already had so little. For years the people of Haiti have lived in such poverty, partially due to their corrupt government etc. Reguardless of the cause... each of those people are precious to God. A long time ago I learned that the choices I make in my life matter. I began to choose differently about how I lived my life, how I interacted with people, and how I spent my money. I chose to live more simply so that whatever small ammount of money I do have after the crushing burden I have of health care for my husband, could be shared with people who have even less.

I drive older cars, live in a smaller home, and choose to forgo a bunch of "extras" because I have plenty of friends with even less, and I'm part of a bigger community where people have nothing.

We are in the midst of the worst storm we've experienced here since I can remember. The roof is leaking and we have huge eucliptis trees in front of our house that the city won't trim threatening to come down... but in this moment I have a house, and I'm dry and alive. And in this moment my heart goes out to all the homeless who have no shelter from the storm. And yet, I've heard NOTHING on the news about them. In Haiti... and here ... there is suffering and poverty. We can make a difference by our actions. We can also be salt and light in a dark and hopeless world by living like we mean it.

Mattstreasure said...

There are unfortunately a lot of judgmental, apathetic Christians out there. The Haitians are hurting, fellow human beings. I may not be able to afford to send money or myself there to help, but I can surely intercede through prayer.

I recently read a pastor’s blog who quoted Rich Stearns’ translation of Matthew 25. It's rather appropriate.

“For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.”

Thank God for His Mercy. We surely don't deserve it.

SirMax said...

Well put....I for one am excited about what is about to happen in Haiti.

I traveled to Sri Lanka after the tsunami hit-there were 75 people at the church we attended while there. Six months later the pastor emailed me to tell me that 1500 people were at church that Sunday-God breathed on that country and is still working.

God has knocked the door down which satan believed he had locked. Haiti is going to see what the hands and feet of Jesus can do. Although tragic this is exciting to be a part of God moving.

Nelson's Mama said...

Amen and amen...

Joanna said...

I get frustrated when i hear people say that countries like Haiti got the way they are because that's how they like it or it was their fault for things getting that way. So many problems in the developing world have been caused by exploitation, colonizations and interference from powerful developed countries. Haiti is no exception.

Christina said...

The way some Christians have responded to this literally makes my blood boil. When natural disasters happen to us, we don't assume that it's because God is punishing us. Why are they pointing the finger at God for this? Do people really think God sought to kill 200,000 and wound 250,000 of the world's poorest victims of human wickedness?

The fact that this earthquake was so devastating is largely due to the state Haiti was in before it happened. And why was Haiti in such poor condition? Because they all practice voodoo? Because they like having it that way and are content with being poor? Because they chose to have a corrupt government? All of those things are LIES. If people actually did any research they would find that Haiti is poor because first-world countries like the U.S. and France have manipulated and exploited it. We have propped up their dictators and even much of American 'charitable' work in Haiti has done more harm to Haiti than good and benefited only a few (most notably, ourselves).

And I feel fairly certain that God is far more angry about American idolatry - especially in the church - than Haitian superstition.

Gabrielle Eden said...

Judgment IS love. God can bring judgment and love at the same time. It isn't so much a direct judgment as just a culmination, a result, a reaping, that naturally results. Haitians need to hear the truth about repentance, just as Americans do.

And that repentance will bring healing and resolution. We always want the easy way out, the love that doesn't require repentance.

Americans will reap too, without repentance.

K Storm said...

All this needed to be said...the Haitians need Jesus and when everything is gone and the government has to depend on people coming in to help...that may be prime time to care for their needs and plant seeds. God is calling many to action here.

gabrielle eden said...

I think the problem with Robertson is the way he says things. Even though there may be some truth in what he is saying, perhaps what causes people, godly people, to react is the tone or approach that he takes. Maybe there is some arrogance or something that is not appropriate for a person who ought to reflect the compassion of Christ.

Amelia said...

Thank you for this. Sometimes I really begin to wonder if we are a nation of sociopaths (as a good friend of mine put it) with the way we judge those who are suffering. We can all do something to help, because it matters, because it's the least we can do in the face of all that suffering.

heartafire said...

Great post---
And, honestly, if God were handing out judgments in the form of natural disaster to countries who weren't following him, let's just say Katrina would be the tip of the iceberg for our beloved America.

I prefer to think about how "it rains on the just and the unjust."

We all deserve such calamity, in fact, we deserve worse, and we deserve the death penalty, but thanks be to God that he sent Jesus to stand in our place.

It's always sort of a litmus to me: the less people understand Christianity, the more they want to separate themselves from suffering people and their pain, often in the form of "blaming the victim." That way they don't have to give up any of their beloved sovereignty in the form of time or money.

heartafire said...

Mattstreasure:
That was a beautiful post--- I have copied down Rich Stearn's take on the MT verses---wow.