Why must we be so quick to judge each other and assume that whenever something bad happens to someone it must mean there was a horrible sin involved? Why must we always ride in on our self-righteous white horse pronouncing judgment upon the infidels who bring every hardship in their lives upon themselves because of being a bad person?
A few years ago I attempted to manifest the compassion of Christ toward people (especially Christian brothers and sisters) devastated by natural disasters, illness, addictions, loss of jobs or houses etc. I was shocked and heartbroken when I found out later that men I respected and supported financially thought I was crazy and a sinner for devoting my life to helping people whose sins had brought these horrible consequences upon themselves and their families.
There are not words in my vocabulary to express how deeply I despise this sanctimonious and “holier than thou” attitude. I cannot begin to communicate how deeply it crushed and tore my heart to find out that people who I thought knew a little bit of the Word of God were in reality cold and hard hearted creeps. Needless to say I parted company with these people and have never spoken to them since.
On Palm Sunday in 1965 a rash of tornadoes tore through the country killing scores of people including many who were attending church services. Were these people killed because of their sin? Were the churches destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the great Joplin tornado targeted by God because they were heathen? These things drive me crazy because they make no sense and hurt people.
Was Abel killed because he had sinned? Was Noah forced to live on a boat with stinking animals because he had sinned? Was Abraham deprived of a permanent home and a child for 99 years because he was a sinner? Was Joseph sold into slavery because he was a sinner? Did David have to live in caves and fear for his life daily as Saul hunted him because he had sinned? Was Jeremiah buried up to his chin in dung because he was a sinner?
I remember hearing a preacher once say that David was hunted by Saul because he had an illicit relationship with Jonathan and God punished him. Recently I read that Stephen was killed because he decided to be a preacher instead of waiting on tables. Were Peter, Paul and all the apostles (except John) executed because they were sinners?
It is high time to cease fixating upon and assuming that all negative things are a direct consequence of someone’s sin. We have an enemy whose sole aim is to steal, kill and destroy us. We have a God who has told us that He will test us so we can get stronger. There are many reasons for bad things to happen to a person, family, church or city. Sin is certainly one of those reasons but not the reason every time.
I pray that I never defame the heritage and legacy of those who gave their lives for daring to speak the truth in love. I pray that I never allow a self-righteous or sanctimonious attitude to render me nothing more than a Pharisaical hypocrite incapable of manifesting compassion, empathy or the love of God. I pray that we all search our souls and cleanse ourselves of anything that makes us hardhearted judges unable and unwilling to manifest the precious and healing love of God.