I haven’t commented much on the tragedy that exploded onto the airwaves reporting a major earthquake on the island of Haiti that has killed thousands. To be quite honest, I get overwhelmed when tragedy of this enormity strikes. As someone who stood next to my brother’s bedside as he slipped away in death, I know the weight of tremendous and inexpressible grief. To multiply that by 100,000… I just can’t wrap my brain around that.
Entire families are just…gone. People all over the world are sitting by the phone and are scanning the internet trying to ascertain the wellbeing of loved ones. Relief is pouring in from all over the world, but the pain is still a sinkhole that seems to keep growing for those who remain or who have been left behind.
From all these years learning to see inside myself, I have learned to see outside myself. I could, like many, choose to just pretend this tragedy didn’t happen, go on with my life, head in the sand. In the past several years, however, my worldview has changed. I have friends from all over the world and I have friends serving God all over the world. I also journey with a community called Ecclesia, a richly creative and unique garden that has helped me grow in ways I don’t think I would journeying anywhere else. I am often challenged to think beyond my own borders and outside the box, and from those challenges, inspired to take action (in whatever form is appropriate at the time).
I just viewed some heartbreaking photos of people who lost their lives, most crushed by buildings or dying in the aftermath. It’s been awful to see how some people have reacted, especially people like Pat Robertson, who have once again thrust their most un-Christlike thoughts into the media in the name of Jesus. People like Pat, who rise up in the midst of devastation to declare God has judged this devastated country and it’s hurting people with this earthquake are one of the reasons I often refer to myself as a recovering Evangelical if I have to label myself as anything other than a broken Christ-follower or Sassy beloved of God.
I have struggled to try to find a nice way of telling the world that Pat Robertson does not represent the mind of Christ in this matter nor does he represent me, broken Christ-follower, Sassy beloved of God. Fortunately, I read this blog by author Donald Miller who articulated exactly how I felt without me having to give Mr. Robertson’s misguided words any more of my creative energy.
One thing I would add, though, is that perhaps Mr. Robertson needs to forget any fancy seminary training he may have had and learn how all this really works:
‘Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is nearly as important, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22: 37-39 (The Voice)
As a friend once told me, if you get these two directives down, the rest just falls into place. While I witness the outpouring of love in Haiti, I can see that there are people out there who really do get it, no seminary degree or formal spiritual training necessary.
I can’t be there in person, brothers and sisters in Haiti, but the action I can engage in this moment is prayer, which I know really does work beyond the realm of my understanding.
I’m so thankful Pat Robertson doesn’t know me and had no words to offer me when my heart was breaking and I was overwhelmed with grief and the world didn’t make sense any more. I am thankful for the reminder, though, Pat, that if my first thought in the face of tragedy isn’t love or compassion or mercy, perhaps it’s better if I just shut up instead.