Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti, Compassion, and Humility

As the initial shock of the horror in Haiti begins to wear off, the question of "Why?" will begin to come to the forefront. This is where we Christians have a wonderful opportunity to show humility and gracefully share the hope of the gospel. Too often, however, we instead stick both feet in our mouths.

So how should we respond to the question of "Why?"

First, let's be certain to answer compassionately. Any answer we give should show great compassion for the immense suffering of the people of Haiti. As Jesus showed compassion for the hurting, we should do the same. This includes helping in tangible ways by sending money, supplies, etc. It also includes prayer.

Second, let's answer with humility. We have to be careful not to assume to know God's thoughts and ways when it comes to disasters like this. I've found that Christians tend to answer the "Why?" question in two faulty ways. On the one hand, some Christians immediately conclude that a disaster of this sort is an act of judgment by God upon wherever a disaster occurs. How they know this, I have no idea. Additionally, this conclusion displays a great amount of hubris because we all deserve to be struck by an earthquake. The second faulty response other Christians give to the "Why?" question is to imply that God was not really in control of it; they answer as if it just sort of happened. This is faulty because we know that God is omnipotent - nothing occurs outside of His sovereign will and control. So, what do we say? We should honestly say that we do not know why this specific earthquake happened.

Third, let's answer by sharing the love of God in the gospel. We know that the worst thing that ever happened on this earth was the execution of the only perfect One - Jesus Christ. Although this earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami of 2004, the 9/11 attacks, etc. were terrible, it was the killing of Christ that was the most terrible event in history. Let's share with people what God did that day on the cross. God suffered that day. He suffered worse than anyone else ever has - including even those in Haiti right now.

We do not know the mind of God on specific tragedies. Let's not claim to know it. Instead, let us show compassion, humility, and love as we discuss this issue. Let's use it as an opportunity to share the gospel - the news that God suffered for man in order to rescue those who do not deserve rescuing.


Raymonde said...

Thank you for giving me the words to say, although I was thinking in a similar way, I am not so good with articulating it. Have a good day. Regards

Eric said...


I'm glad to be able to help.

In situations like the one in Haiti, it is difficult to know what to say. The pain and suffering in staggering. I pray that the Lord will bring some good out of it.

Aussie John said...


In the light of some of the almost heretical blatherings from some prominent people who call themselves "Christian" leadersw; what a great pleasure it is to read something from someone who knows God's great grace.

Eric said...


Thank you.

I am amazed by how many people try to speak for God when disasters like this occur. Certainly we wold all agree that God controls all things - including this earthquake. What bothers me is when people speak as if they know for certain God's motivation for the earthquake. In this we must be humble.

God bless.