Are Comments By Pat Robertson Regarding Haiti and the Westboro Group’s Disruption of Fallen Soldier Funerals Hurting the Christian Brand?
Given the recent court decision regarding the Westboro Church’s right to disrupt funerals for soldiers, I am reminded of the following article I wrote in the Light of Love Blog about Pat Robertson’s comments pertaining to Haiti, and how the tiny Caribbean nation was deserving of the catastrophes that befell it in 2010.
Are remarks such as the one by Robertson and, the Westboro Group’s actions hurting the Christian Faith in the same manner that Islamic extremism is hurting the Muslim religion?
“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”
It is both wonderful and amazing how God speaks to each and every one of us through the circumstances of our lives to teach us and deliver us to a new understanding of His word.
Just this past week, shortly after giving an on-air interview where I discussed my journey from humble means to earthly riches to being virtually penniless and then coming back – I need a rest from just writing about the experience, never mind living it – and the amazing grace and guidance of God in my ever maturing Christian walk, my words were “tested.”
Specifically, a number of promises that were made to me were not followed through on by the individuals who made them. The old me of course would have looked at this failure to deliver as being the epitome of irresponsibility in which the “say what you mean, and mean what you say” edict would have governed my response. Not a lot of forgiveness in that attitude, and even less understanding.
Of course after years of operating within the realms of the corporate world, old feelings like a bad habit can resurface in the form of reactive judgment.
Fortunately and of course thankfully, God in His own immutable way opened my eyes, as the next day the Isaiah 64:6 verse literally jumped of the screen hitting me square between the eyes. I now think that I know what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of a Max Baer punch (see Cinderella Man).
The most significant, and unavoidable truth is that no matter how far we have come in our Christian walk, or how many deeds of service we have performed in the Lord’s name, when we choose to step outside of His grace we are all the same. Specifically, our works and opinions, our accomplishments and view of the world is distorted by our sinful nature.
Now do not get me wrong, the broken promises to which I had referred earlier do not suddenly become acceptable actions. What changes however, is the manner in which we both view and respond to these everyday occurrences of human fallibility. A view which takes into account our own failings and shortcomings that continue to exist no matter how far along we are in our Christian journey. In short, 2 Corinthians 12:9 (My grace is sufficient for thee) swings both ways in terms of the offender and the offended.
Besides providing me with a much needed perspective, this also gave me the insight I needed to respond to the remarks by Pat Robertson regarding the Haitian crisis.
Yes, I must admit that my initial reaction to the Robertson comment in which he had suggested that the disaster in Haiti was self-inflicted justice, was one of moderate disgust.
Known for his “holier than thou” admonishments to those in misery and crisis that they are getting their “just desserts,” the evangelical leader of The 700 Club has not always endeared himself to many.
Tantamount to kicking someone when he or she down, what is most troubling about Robertson’s proclamations (re judgments) is that they seem to indicate that he somehow knows the mind of God. That unlike everyone else, he can find reason for certain tragedy through a spiritual connection that extends far beyond the rest of humanity.
I am not suggesting that there isn’t consequences for our actions, nor am I saying that perhaps from a factual perspective there are not issues of sin. What I am saying is that sin in any form is not distinguishable in terms of degrees or reach. Pat Robertson is as much a sinner as I am, and I am as much a sinner as anyone else in the world, including those that live in Haiti.
It is only through God’s grace that I am redeemed. Therefore, and in the spirit of Matthew 7:1 which clearly states “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged,” perhaps Minister Robertson would be well advised to revisit his remarks.
In the meantime we, being held to the same standard of Christian values and edict, should offer Pat Robertson the very compassion and understanding that has been absent from his own words.