Haiti and My Conflict

26 01 2010

Haiti and My Conflict

Like many of you, I have been watching the news updates on the devastating earthquake in Haiti.  Every network from CNN to ESPN is jumping on this major story.  And when you’re looking at real-life photos and real-time video it’s easy to become tearful.  We can almost smell the stench of death as we see bodies pulled out of the cinder-block wreckage.  The chaos and pain is unfathomable.  Watching little girls and boys wandering the streets with no parents, guardians or love is heart-wrenching.

The body count has reached over 100,000 with estimates that it will exceed more than a quarter of a million by the end of the week.  This is a catastrophe of apocalyptic standards.  The pain and turmoil of this nation rips my heart apart. 

I can’t speak for others, but I’ll tell you my initial and continuous reaction to this situation is a combination of compassion and anger.  I find myself ticked off at Haiti’s leaders!  I want to march in there, find the president and his cabinet, and hang ’em all!  I know this isn’t a very “Christian” pastoral response and I’ve asked God to forgive me for my attitude, but that’s how I feel.

But, at the same time, I have to wonder how God feels? 

How could Haiti’s leaders allow their people to live in such squalor?  How could they let the presidential palace, three times bigger than the White House, become so grossly ostentatious while the hillsides surrounding it are stacked with cardboard shacks and the people are reduced to eating mud cakes?  Greed, greed, greed.  God is angry!  God weeps!  And so do I.

My heart breaks with love and compassion for the precious, image bearers of God in Haiti, especially the women and children.   I had trouble sleeping last night as I dreamed of the kids with no mommy or daddy, no support, no protection from elements or evil.  I thought about the well-financed men who will come as tools of Satan, offering them food and shelter, only to drag them into prostitution, drug addiction and a life of bondage.  I get angry when I imagine the reality that faces these Haitian children.  God is angry!  God weeps!  And so do I.

But, simultaneously, I rejoice with the surprising, even shocking miracles that are bringing hundreds of children from orphanages in Haiti to the United States to be adopted by caring families.  I praise the Lord for the nine families in our church who are now holding in their arms these precious innocent image-of-God bearers.  God’s heart bursts with joy! God’s heart spills over with love!  And so does mine!

So how do we process such conflicting emotions?  How do we deal with both the righteous anger and the overwhelming compassion that are erupting within us?  Maybe we’re not too different from Jesus.  He had a lot of anger directed at the prideful arrogant Pharisee’s, but was moved with love and compassion for the outcasts and displaced.  I’m conflicted.