I have a wide variety of emotions as I watch the news. Sometimes rage, sometimes empathy, sometimes fear. Occasionally I feel elated, happy, or at least touched. Other times I'm worried, scared, appalled.
Today I cringed. No better way to put it.
I haven't posted about the disaster in Haiti, not because I haven't cared or prayed or given. I have. But I simply haven't felt led to post about a situation that already has so many voices echoing the concern that most of us feel. I have read others' posts about orphaned children, missionaries who have been affected, and teams from America who have gone to help. I have read with interest, concern, and compassion. My voice has not been heard, other than on an occasional comment, but my prayers have, and my heart has been right there with everyone else's.
So that is why I hesitated this morning to write this particular post. Do I really have the right? I've been so silent on this cause so far. But in the end, the nagging feeling that I needed to say something wouldn't let me off the hook. So here goes.
I'm still cringing.
Watching the news this morning, I saw another report of the Baptist missionaries being held in jail for possible trafficking of children. While the missionaries claim innocence and misunderstanding, a "respected" journalist claims she warned the American group that their actions could get them in trouble. She claims she even told them that some could perceive their proposed actions as trafficking, a serious offense. The missionaries claim they tried to get the paperwork for the children, but were confused and couldn't get clear answers. Still, they took children and attempted to move them across the border of one country into another without permission. They didn't even know for sure that these children were orphaned or uncared for, and now it turns out that approximately half of them were not orphans at all.
Dear friends, I don't know these folks. I want to think the best of them, hope that they indeed were acting with good hearts even if they were misguided. But all I know of them is the same thing the rest of America knows - that they acted rashly, perhaps got caught up in the "hoopla" of saving children and doing good, but they went about it all wrong. (I say "hoopla" not because saving children is a bunch of hoopla, but because I've seen a lot of hoopla in the name of doing good. Know what I mean? Some people seem to just want to be a part of it all, but for the wrong reasons.)
Witnesses and reporters are saying the group defied Haiti and international laws because they said, "If God is in it, then it will happen." Cringe.
I will resist the temptation to bash our brothers and sisters in Christ, as I will continue to assume they are such. But I think we all need to make a few notes to self regarding their actions.
- There is a difference between being persecuted for Christ's sake and being persecuted for hasty and unwise actions. Unless new evidence appears to the contrary, it seems our Baptist friends (I'm Baptist myself, by the way) are suffering for the latter.
- I am reminded of the dire need to wait on God and not jump ahead of Him in my hurry to "do something, anything."
- There's something to be said for going through the right channels whenever possible. Daniel, one of our Old Testament heroes of the faith, was a mighty leader in a foreign country, but always showed discernment and respect for the policies and procedures of the kingdom he served. Not only did such careful behavior win him the respect of the leaders of Babylon, but Daniel 9:23 tells us it also earned him the high esteem of heaven.
And thus I end my post. Please here me clearly when I say that I am not standing in judgment of these folks. I don't know them and I don't know the whole of their story. I am not one to believe that our liberal journalists are giving this story a fair shake. I hope they are leaving out important details that would shed a better light on this situation. But at least for now, I cringe and I pray and I make a few notes to self.
- While God certainly does not need us to defend His reputation, we do have a responsibility and should have a desire to represent Him well. The world waits with baited breath for every opportunity to muddy the name of Christ. Let's not hand them the mud in a silver pail.
Let me know what you think. Really.