Don’t Just Keep Eating Your Dinner

The Haiti earthquake is now over a month behind us. Have you forgotten? To one degree or another I’m sure almost all of us have forgotten, we certainly aren’t as emotionally distraught as we were four weeks ago. Is that okay?

At one level, of course it is. If the emotional toil which tragedies affect simply never went away life would be unlivable. We couldn’t carry the shock and distress from Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9-11, the Indonesian tidal wave, and Haiti all at once. So, of course it is okay that some of our emotions have subsided.

But there is much suffering in the world. That’s what sin does. It makes the world not as it should be. So we now have to deal with the pain of Haitian earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and systematic genocide.

Which leads us towards my point. When faced with atrocities and suffering I am ashamedly tempted to display the exact attitude that is mentioned in this clip from Hotel Rwanda.

Keith Simon has written several posts in the past month about ways to genuinely help the impoverished. This is especially relevant to us in that many groups associated with The Crossing (including our Student Ministries) participate in several mission fields, notably Kenya and Jamaica. (I commend both posts to you, here and here)

Caring for the poor and less fortunate – whether the poverty or suffering has occurred through choices of their own or things outside of their control (like an earthquake) – is undoubtedly a biblical command. So we’re glad people at The Crossing have joined with other missions and relief organizations abroad and in our own community.

Don Cheadle’s character asks a poignant question: “How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?” The answer is at one level quite simple. We are prone to having hard, cold hearts that sometimes care most for our own comfort. So when that personal comfort is met it is difficult to genuinely care about others in need. Sure, we’ll have emotional moments when the horror of suffering shallowly affects us. I say shallowly because it usually wears off quickly.

But we must have a heart for the suffering and poor if any progress is to be made, for lives to be changed. We need a heart that breaks for the impoverished and hurting. May God give me a heart like this, instead of the one I’m prone to have. The one that says, “O my God, that’s horrible,” but then continues eating my dinner without a second thought.

Edit (Saturday, 5:35): Today’s events in Chile should both cause us to pray for those caught in the destruction and remind us that suffering and disaster is an ever-present reality.

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