The Right and Wrong Response to Tragedy

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In times of crisis we regularly see people’s hearts respond to God in remarkable ways. They promote generosity, kindness, compassion, and cooperation in ways that should make any ardent believer offer praise to our Heavenly Father. Danger, uncertainty, and loss cause us to look toward safety, certainty, and permanence. I believe that tragic moments actually cause us to lay aside our own shellfish rebellion and embrace what we know to be true about God and His goodness.

I am really saddened when I see this process cheapened by a harsh reaction from people who claim Christianity. To be fair, I have seen an incredible response from many believers. Responses of support, outreach, and genuine love. What baffles me is when people who follow Jesus weigh in on the situation with their notions of haughtiness. Let me explain what I mean.

In tragic situations responses like: “This is God’s judgement.” “We brought this on ourselves.” Are not ok. These kinds of pronouncements are ridiculous. They are shameful. They might sound pious and pure, but the overtones of condemnation are an affront to the life-giving Spirit of Christ.

When our neighbors are distraught we should reach out to them lovingly. We should welcome any attempt they make to reconnect and be reconciled to God. We should welcome any attempt they make to reconnect and reconcile with each other. It is not a time to parade I-told-you-so’s like a trophy of supremacy. If anything it is a sacred and holy opportunity to humble ourselves, to set aside our own differences of opinion about previous actions, offenses, and attitudes and lovingly display Jesus to a whole lot of people who are suddenly more interested in what he has to say.

You can read my initial thoughts about the tragedy here.

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