Wednesday, May 22, 2013
LESSONS IN SPIRITUAL WEATHER REPORTING
It happens all too often. A tidal wave, a tsunami, a hurricane or a tornado devastates a community. Within hours a prominent Christian televangelist or bible teacher pronounces blame. Without fail the blame falls upon the shoulders of “those sinners” out there.
Without going into detail about how our sins affect various weather patterns around the globe, let’s look instead at what the Bible says about where blame should actually fall:
"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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14
Who are God's people? We are. Who are those who are called by His name? Christians. Who must humble themselves and pray and seek the face of God? Us.
What is holding back the healing of our land? The lack of Christian humility and prayer. Who should repent? We should.
Obviously, if our Christian leaders are so quick to blame earthquakes and hurricanes on the sins of others, we’re not looking in the mirror. And if our leaders brazenly suggest that the solution to the world’s problems would all be solved if everyone were more like them, we’re not really practicing humility.
So, if we understand scripture correctly, the ones who deserve the blame for random acts of weather-induced judgment are the Christians among us who do not humble themselves or pray, or seek God’s face, or turn from their own wicked ways.
If anyone needs to apologize here, it’s these Christians who are too proud to confess their sins and humble themselves and pray.
Now, we could also entertain the possibility that hurricanes and earthquakes and tornadoes are just naturally occurring phenomenon and not necessarily the result of an angry, vengeful God who can’t wait to smite us. (That’s sort of what I’d suggest). But if you’re insistent that God loves to pound people for their sins, keep this in mind - According to the Bible, the things that really anger God the most are not abortion, atheists, liberals, or homosexuality.
For those keeping score at home, the issues that really inspire the wrath of God are:
*Ignoring the poor
How do I know this? Well, the grand-daddy of all “Wrath of God” moments is Sodom and Gomorra, of course. No arguments there, right? Well, according to God the reason He decided to rain down the fire and the brimstone on those cities was this:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
So, what God really, really hates are clearly these Top 5 sins of Sodom: Pride, Apathy, Gluttony, Arrogance and Ignoring the poor.
As Christians, "called by His name” our first response to tragedies should be to help, and to pray, and to serve. Let’s leave the judgment to God. That’s His job, not ours.
See, if God really did want to judge a city or a nation, the pattern He takes is to speak to the prophet BEFORE the judgment comes so that A) people have an opportunity to repent and B) when the judgment comes everyone will know that God told them about it in advance.
As far as I know, these television and radio preachers, (who are now proclaiming the tornadoes in Oklahoma are due to the sins of the people), didn’t say a word about these storms before they happened. You know what that means? It means that they are not speaking for God. It means they are not humbling themselves and repenting of their own sins. It means they are more focused on the failures of others than on their own need to be more like Jesus.
To all of you affected by this recent storm, I apologize. I’m sorry, more than you will ever know, that in addition to your suffering you had to endure the blame placed upon you by those who are called by His Name but who lack the compassion of Jesus, or his humility and grace.