As the world tries to mount a response to yet another massive natural disaster, the natural question is why? Why did this earthquake hit Haiti, one of the poorest and least able to cope with such destruction? Communication is still difficult, but some authorities estimate the death toll to be in the order 100,000. Add to that the number trapped, injured and left homeless, the hospitals leveled, no power, water or electricity, post trauma epidemics and the result is overwhelming. It is too big, too far away to even conceive how I can help… so part of me just wants to hide and forget about it.
Against that background I recently finished reading a book called ‘Speeches That Changed The World’. There were many great, stirring speeches from a range of well know men and women down through history, but one that really caught my imagination was one by Elie Wiesel who hones in on what he called the “perils of indifference”. He says:
In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman. Indifference, after all is more dangerous than anger or hatred. Anger can at times be creative… But indifference is never creative…”
So, my challenge is to fight the tendency to be indifferent, and come up with some creative options of what we can do to help:
I can give money… not very creative but there are a range of well known organisations that are already working in this country like WORLD Vision, Red Cross and Compassion. I can volunteer to go and help, be involved and support any ADF initiatives, and I can pray, believing that God does care and will answer those prayers, working miracles, bringing hope out of hopelessness.
On my own I can’t do much, but if we get together and pool our resources and ideas, use a bit of creativity then just maybe we can make a big difference. Don’t succumb to the opt-out of indifference, do something today! Maybe the best response is simply to follow through on Jesus’ command.
“Here is a simple rule of thumb guide for behaviour:
Ask yourself what you want people to do for you,
then grab the initiative and do it for them.”
(The Message, Matthew 7:12)
Chaplain Ian Whitley