Recently, I hung out with some of my girlfriends. It was so refreshing just to relax and be myself and catch up with their thoughts and lives. As a result of a particular conversation, I ventured, “I am glad that God is the judge and not me.” At times, we (I) think we can discern and diagnose and render our rulings or judgments on people or situations. We perceive ourselves to be accurate. And some of us are more accurate than others. But wisdom, life, and history show us that things are seldom clear-cut, seldom so black and white.
It comforts me to know that God is a just judge and he will and does render the right judgment, despite my inability to comprehend. I don’t have all the facts. And even if I did, would I know what a just punishment is? No.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t judge the rightness or wrongness of particular situations or actions (obviously Hitler’s and Stalin’s actions were abominable), because in the New Testament, St. Paul says we are to test all things. What I am saying is that we need to be careful.
Continuing in this vein, last night I read that Pat Robertson proclaimed the earthquake in Haiti to be God’s judgment on its people. I understand that he probably thinks so based on God’s actions in the Old Testament. And I realize that he has done many good things to help the poor and suffering all over the world, to spread God’s love. So, I do not condemn him as a good-for-nothing (lest I be in danger of the fires of hell, as Jesus has said).
But I do caution him and others who proclaim that this natural disaster (and other disasters like it) is a result of God’s judgment. We simply don’t know. I do believe God judges but to say, “this is a judment of God” or “that is a judgment of God” may be going too far.
Take Luke 13:1-5 for example. This is what it says, “Now there were some present at the time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish! Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell, you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish!'”
When the people started pointing fingers at those who died–self-righteous because the tragedies didn’t befall them, in essence Jesus said, “Take a look at yourself, they were no more guilty than you. You watch out, because if you don’t turn from your sins, you too will perish.”
Let us be careful then before we go prounouncing judgment on others lest we bring it on ourselves.
I wonder if Pat Robertson regrets his words? I wish the soundbite would’ve been of him offering aid instead of pronouncing God’s judgment. I am sure he and CBN are giving though.
Peace to you and prayers/giving for the affected in Haiti.