Friday, January 15, 2010

WHO SINNED?

How can a follower of Jesus look upon the heart-breaking devastation being reported in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and respond by proudly declaring that the God you follow is responsible? I don't understand this.

Do we not believe Jesus when he says, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father"? Are we not convinced that God is merciful when Jesus shows mercy? Are we unmoved by his treatment of the woman caught in adultery? Are we unphased by his compassion for the leper, the blind, the outcast? Can we not fully accept that God, the Father, is just as merciful and loving as Jesus?

"Don't you know me...even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?" - Jesus, (John 14:9-10)

Those who believe that the tragedy in Haiti is the result of their being judged for their sinful practices must consider the following:

1 - 80% of people in Haiti are Catholic.
2 - America is the world's largest exporter of pornography in the world.
3 - The United States of America is principally a transit and destination country for trafficking in persons. It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually.
4 - Poverty is not the evidence of God's judgement. Neither is wealth an evidence of God's favor.

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower" - (James 1:9-10)

"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" - (James 2:5)

5 - Suffering, natural disasters and tragedy are all opportunities for those who walk in the light to bring hope to those in the darkness.

"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (Jesus answered) "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." - (John 9:1-5)

We, the followers of Jesus, must change our attitudes about sin, and most importantly, about sinners.

First, we must remember that we also are sinners. There is no "Us and Them" here because we are still struggling with sin ourselves, even though we know the Savior and are in fellowship with Christ. Sin is our enemy and we struggle with it daily.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." - (1 John 1:8-10)

Our response to the distress in our world is to humble ourselves and pray and confess our own sins to God and cry out for people to be healed and saved - not judged and condemned.

"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It is the people of God who need to humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways in order for God's healing and forgiveness to fall - not the "sinners".

We need to erase this sentence from our minds:
"If only those sinners would get saved, the world would be a much better place".

The idea being that, if there were more people in the world just like us, then everything would be perfect...because of course, we are so much better than all of "Those People" who are not like us.

What God says needs to happen first is that we humble ourselves. That means we don't use statements like "If only those people would be more like us, everything would be wonderful". Humble people don't talk like that...or think that way either.

Jesus reminds us that the Father allows rain to fall on the just and the unjust as well. Because of this, whenever we show mercy to the unbeliever, or love to our enemy, we are being like our Father in Heaven. He is loving. He is merciful. He mourns with those who mourn and rejoices with those who rejoice. We should do the same.

Finally, we must remember that the time for the judgement of our sins is not in this life. This comes later, at the end of time and the return of Christ. For now, we are in a season where God waits beause he is not willing that any should perish. This is a season of mercy, not a season of judgement.

We would also do well to remember how Jesus will judge us on that day. When it comes he will divide the sheep from the goats based on how well they loved those who were the victims of poverty, or of tragedy, or injustice.

The tragedy in Haiti is an opportunity for the people of God to respond with compassion and love. Let us focus our attention on being light in the darkness. Let us bring hope to the hopeless. Let us not assign the blame to the victims while we sit in luxury.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -Jesus (John 13:34-35)

Peace,
Keith Giles

1 comment:

let the children come said...

Hi Keith.
There is one in the universe into JUDGING, his name is satan. He has completely pulled the wool over the eyes of the Christian world. The great deceiver never takes credit for his work. Christians seem only too eager to let Father, God be responsible for evil acts. Friends, let's get to know the Creator, let's
really 'know' Jesus, let's dwell in the secret place and abide in Him.