You know, the whole Pat "open mouth, insert foot" Robertson thing has gotten me thinking about how badly we in the Christian church fail at the command to "Mourn with those that mourn" (Romans 12:15 NIV). I can't count the number of people who left the institutional church due to some horrible platitude or completely insensitive comment made to them in the wake of a personal tragedy.
To be fair this isn't just a church problem its a human problem. We don't know what to say in the face of great pain and we seem to feel compelled to say "something" and usually that results in saying something monumentally stupid. Being of the age that I have endured a few personal tragedies in my life I can say without exception that the people who were the most comforting to me and the most helpful in healing were the ones who showed up, cried WITH me, held me while I cried and confined their need for commentary to "I'm so sorry this happened to you. I love you. I'm here for you."
It helps, even if they're not the cause of my hurt. I'm moving through a really painful situation at the moment and finally someone in the church, although not the one responsible for the situation, has sat and listened and let me cry and said "I'm so sorry this happened to you." Even if they don't have the power to fix it and even though they are not the ones that caused the offense, for the first time since this whole mess began I feel cared for. Prayed for. Loved. Hopeful that maybe healing IS possible and I won't hurt like this forever.
And in Haiti it is the people and organizations that don't feel the need to pontificate about the possible causes of this tragedy that are and will be making a difference. They are the people that are the hands and face of Christ to the people of Haiti. They are the ones that will bring healing to Haiti. The ones who simply and with tears on their own faces shut up and get to the business of mourning with those who mourn and helping those in need.
We are a small and deeply interconnected world. One of our homeschool families has a son that was in Haiti when all this began. I've received at least three different prayer requests regarding local mission teams that were already on the ground when the quake hit and that we had not yet heard from. My dear friend Troy spent some time in Haiti shortly after high school. This is deeply personal for him. Tony Compolo, a Christian "celebrity" that I deeply admire, has been involved in work in Haiti for decades. I immediately thought of him and his work their when the news broke. One of us, in this case one of the nations, is mourning. We need to mourn with them. We need to pray for them. We need to help in whatever way we can.
Praying for Haiti.