They’re At It Again
|Image from CNN|
Seeing the devastation that a tornado wrought upon Oklahoma, I found it cruel to read “Fred Phelps Jr., the son of Westboro Baptist Church minister Fred Phelps, … drawing a link between the Oklahoma tornado's devastation and a local team's support for openly gay NBA star Jason Collins.” (Source: The Huffington Post)
|Image from The Huffington Post|
The Huffington Post added: “It isn’t the first time that an anti-gay pundit has attempted to blame a natural disaster to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2012, chaplain John McTernan linked Hurricane Sandy (and a number of other recent weather-related trends and natural disasters) on LGBT people and President Barack Obama's backing of marriage equality. ‘God is systematically destroying America,’ McTernan wrote at the time. ‘Just look at what has happened this year.’” (Ibid)
Whenever I read such hateful statements, I am reminded of what I wrote before when anti-RH (Reproductive Health) people here in the Philippines tried to connect a disaster to the passing of the RH bill.
When I read those accusing tweets and FB posts, I recalled Luke 13 when people asked the Lord Jesus “about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.” (v. 1b, ESV) Possibly, they asked Him why God allowed such injustice. He wisely replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Vv. 2b-3) Some tend to think that there are those who suffer because they were “worse sinners” than them. The Lord answered with a resounding “No.” Then He added,“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Vv. 4-5) Again, He said, “No.” When cancer inflicts a dear loved one, for example, we tend to cry out, “Why her? There are so many evil people out there. Why not them?” It is because we assume that they are“worse offenders.” Sure, we admit we are all sinners. But we add in the next breath that we are not that bad compared to others. Our Lord teaches“that calamity can happen to anyone because all are human… Jesus’ point was that being killed or not being killed is no measure of a person’s unrighteousness or righteousness. Anyone can be killed. Only God’s grace causes any to live… Death is the common denominator for everyone.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) Instead of being self-righteous, all of us need to repent and put ourselves in the hands of the merciful God. For all of us need His grace. We should not be haughty. We should humble ourselves before Him and pray for our country.
Instead of blaming, we should be helping.
I don’t want to second-guess God. I am not trying and will not even attempt to excuse Him. Jeremiah the prophet lamented, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” (Lamentations 3:38, NIV) But I believe God is more than capable not only in explaining Himself but also, much more, comforting those who suffered in calamities.
However, I cannot stomach the seeming self-righteous statements that hatemongers like Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) usually spout against those who don't believe and live according to their standard of morality. It’s a case of looking “at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and [paying] no attention to the plank in your own eye” (Matthew 7:3). I don’t believe that the apparent ungracious stance of WBC reflects the grace of our Lord. And, until and unless I heard a crystal-clear voice from heaven, I won’t attempt to speak for God on depressing events like the Oklahoma tornado.
To be candid, at times I struggle with doubt whenever such sad circumstances occur. But, I take solace in these lyrics of a song,
God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand. When don't see his plan, When you can't trace his hand, Trust His Heart.