Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 16, 2010

"He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:1-8
Pat Robertson's statement regarding Haiti being a cursed nation may have been ill-timed and misapplied toward a natural disaster, but it is not entirely wrong. While I doubt that the devasting earthquake was a judgment for their spiritual darkness, I do believe that much of their extreme poverty and vulnerability is do the spiritual and political oppression they suffer.
Their government has been controlled by Godless despots for several generations who have oppressed the people while empowering and enriching themselves. This greed and tyranny has improverished their people and stripped them of individual opportunity. Any government that uses its power against its people will eventually crush the spirit of its people. That is Haiti.
Most of the organizations that exist in Haiti to assist the Haitian people are American faith-based organizations. They are there to bring the hope of the Gospel and to meed the physical and spiritual needs of the people to relieve their suffering, heal their diseases, provide food and clothing to improve their quality of life. It is was Christ commissioned His Church to do. The People of God are there to do what the Haitian government will not or cannot do.
As you watch the world mobilize to respond to the overwhelming suffering wrought by this devastating natural disaster, notice which nation takes the lead and contributes the bulk of the money, supplies, expertise and manpower to the helpless Haitians. It will be us - Americans! That is how it should be since they are our neighbors and since we are so blessed.
But what is it that has given us such superior resources to allow us to meet their needs without disturbing our own? Why are we so blessed and why are they so destitute? Two words: Faith and Freedom. Our desire to help and our ability to help are both results of those two powerful and fundamental principles that empower our people.
Most of the schools, hospital, clinics, orphanages, and churches that currently exist in Haiti and provide the limited measure of hope enjoyed by Haitians exist as extensions of American faith and freedom. We are still executing the mission that Jesus gave these twelve when He sent them out.
As you pray for the Haitians. As you give generously. As you watch the hurt, hunger and hopelessness met and ministered to by American doctors, nurses, first-responders, soldiers, relief workers, and missionaries, thank God for our faith and our freedom. Think how much worse the death, disease and destitution would be if America did not have the will or the wealth to respond. And pray for America - that our time honored blessings of faith and freedom will not be lost. Both are under assault even as I write these words.
Whether Pat Robertson's claim that Haiti has been cursed because of a deal with the devil is open for debate. But it should serve as a cautionary wake up call to America that finds itself at a moral and political crossroads. Will we cling to our faith and freedom or will we make a deal with the devil?
By the way, regardless of what you think of Robertson's statement, he has put his money where is mouth is. His Operation Blessing has sent over $4 billions to needy people worldwide. If you choose to criticize him do it on your knees with your wallet open.