Monday, January 25, 2010

WWJD - Haiti

Facebook can be a riveting social networking tool. At times I find it fascinating and uplifting; other times I find it irritating and bothersome; then there are the times I find it down right infuriating. Tonight happened to be one of those moments.

There are many “cause” posts going around on Facebook-- paste "this" to your status if you support autism; paste "that" if you know a breast cancer survivor; paste "this" if you support children with special needs. I don't have a problem, in theory, with any of these “cause” posts, other than their lack of creativity or personal voice; they do serve as a "shout out" to causes important to the poster. HOWEVER, there was one of these cause-type posts today that has me dumbfounded and yes, my “panties are officially in a wad”. Here it is:
America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. What about the people of USA?(99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost)
Perhaps this is because 99% of Americans plain don't agree. What confounds me most about this post is when professing Christians, those who are called to be Christlike, post this as their status.

Someone please explain to me the Biblical basis for such convictions. Why is giving to Haitians mutually exclusive from taking care of those in America who are in need? Haiti is a nation, perhaps the poorest in the world, who is experiencing a most horrific calamity. With 150,000 dead and over a million homeless, their need is greater.

This fact does not absolve us from our responsibility at home, it simply means that for this moment in time we need to shift our focus globally. We have equal responsibility to both our nation and our global community. Can you imagine if Jesus were an American, perhaps your neighbor, do you think you would hear him say “know what, we need to be helping our own, not those people in Haiti”. Seems downright silly, doesn't it? Such attitudes don' seem to pass the WWJD litmus test.

1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.
Seems to me scripture is crystal clear. We have a responsibility to all those who are in need, WITHOUT judgment, without engaging some human filter of “who is more worthy” of our assistance, and without strings attached . It is also clear that we are to do more than talk-words are not only cheap, they don't get the job done. Which brings me to my own soul searching questions:  when was the last time I had a homeless American in my home for a dinner, worked in a soup kitchen, helped at the local shelter or even did without, so that others might have food on the table?

Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.
My contention is that by abdicating our global responsibility and doing NOTHING for the Haitians we would be supporting their continued oppression therefore "insulting God". Shouldn't the richest country in the world be a the forefront of humanitarian aide to the poorest country? Moreover, shouldn't those who love God and are called to be Christlike; those rich in grace, who bask in the benefits of mercy be the first in line to give generously to those in need? How do we honor God? What attitudes honor God? What actions honor God? What responses honor God?

If interested there are many relief organizations that are known to be responsible stewards of the monies collected for Haiti:
American Red Cross
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries  I add this one as I know every dime donated goes directly to the Haitian relief


Evan and Julia Abla said...

This week's lection from Luke speaks to this sentiment as well. Luke 4:21-30 (see 14-20 for better context). Jesus is speaking to the people he grew up with. He quoted the messianic passage from Isaiah about a mysterious anointed one who will hand out good news, give sight to the blind, release the prisoner, relieve the oppressed, and announce the year of the Lord's favor. Jesus then begins to speak about how this message is for everyone, not just Nazarenes (I mean people from Nazareth, tee hee). In fact he gives examples during the lives of Elijah (regarding the widow of Sidon) and Elisha (regarding Naaman the Syrian). Proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor is not just for Americans, Haitians, or Christians. It is for everyone, at all times, in all places, widows in Sidon, lepers from Syria. The Lord's favor is for all, even those not in our groups.

Nicole's Lost said...

I think those posts should be considered spam and Facebook should ban them.