I find it tragic when I read a Christian post blaming the latest natural disasters on specific sins and how it is a sign from Jesus that these certain people need to repent to prevent certain disasters. I hate it because they look unintelligent and people who are looking for a reason to not believe gently paint all us Christians with the same brush. So to all the atheists and agnostic writers who have written good articles and posts on the topic, and have exercised precise and clear theological thinking I thank you. Yes, I thank you for your efforts. Unfortunately, you are only pointing out the obvious flawed thinking of some and not the good conclusions of a well trained theological eye. But some of you have argued your points well by using scripture in context. Christians; back to us. Here are 5 reasons why we need to stop the nonsense.
1. If the purpose of the disaster is God’s action to produce repentance, how come tornadoes, hurricanes, floods don’t produce that type of testimony where people left their specific sin of blame because God’s rained His wrath on them from heaven? I have heard of people coming to Christ after almost loosing their life. I have heard of people getting saved after tragedies, but I have yet to hear someone connect their lack of personal repentance over specific sins to a natural disaster. By nature we all intuitively believe we are one of the good guys. We don’t rank our personal brand of sin above someone else’s. I am sure their are stories we can point to. However, it seems most people repent and try to hold on to some old ways, especially those that are the most important to them. Over time God convicts them to leave their most sinful behaviors.
2. When representing God it is never a good idea to say something unless you are absolutely sure of your conclusion. You should confirm it on a spiritual level between you and God. You should make sure your conclusions are Biblical. You should check those conclusions with other Christians and 2000 years of church history. Much of what we believe in Christianity today comes from our favorite preachers but do not hold up purely in actual scholarship. Reading the Bible has certain rules and you must learn the rules of the game, so you can play it. A word in English only 50 years ago has a completely different meaning. Imagine the mess we can make without truly using Greek and Hebrew correctly in our interpretations.
3. This conclusion isn’t consistent. It is easy to say things from a distance, but up close you learn from people. I am willing to guess that in Louisiana there are several people who have lost their homes and livelihood due to the recent floods that are much better Christians than I am. So, if God is into destroying American cities with certain sins or seemingly more sins, He doesn’t want us Christians to live in those cities. The Christian thing to do then would be to move to a city that is more Christian. When you think it through, God destroying our more sinful cities would keep Christians from living there. It would keep Christians from planting churches there. It would be contrary to the mission of God. Maybe those of us who live in the more comfortable suburbs or conservative cities should be more concerned. Because we may be in need of God shaking our security to draw closer to Him as well.
4. It is not our job to judge cities or cultures. It is our job to live by The Great Commission and The Great Commandment. Love God and love people by showing them who God is. When we spend time explaining disasters we look more like Job’s friends than Job.
5. Pain and suffering is part of the human experience. God will allow it and bring it into our lives for His purposes. God is God and we are not. We do not need to try to explain everything.
Some people go through trials so they can help others. Look at what the great Apostle Paul had to say about his own heartache.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).”
How Christians suffer and comfort those who are suffering says a lot about the current intimacy they have with their Savior. To suffer well when God asks that of you, and to comfort those around you who suffer is part of the call of a Christian.
The Bible addresses pain and suffering more thoroughly, these five points are only a start. Your comments are welcome.
Thank you for reading.
photo credit to yourfloodagent.com