Throwing Money at Haiti Won’t Solve the Problem

All of us are overwhelmed and stunned at the images we see on TV about the devastation in Haiti.  It is a nation into which billions and billions of aid have been poured and yet the money doesn’t seem to have made the kind of dent we would expect.

So what is our response when we see tragedies like this?  Either earthquakes, tsunamis, war – we send money.  And we should.  Money is a powerful tool. It can be used to buy medicine, water and food.  It can stave off starvation and disease.  It can rebuild infrastructure.  It can lift people out of a cycle of poverty.  But that is never, ever enough.

Here is a novel idea for those of us who will never go to Haiti, who aren’t missionaries, who live in the real world of commerce, of Wall Street, of profit and loss. The very best way for us to engage the suffering there in Haiti is to engage the suffering here, all around us.

Maybe instead of texting our ten dollars to the Red Cross , which is a good thing and should be done, or sending money to Samaritan’s Purse, or even a great ministry like Convoy of Hope, we should, in addition, look around at what’s gone wrong in the families and communities in which we live.  Maybe we should be peacemakers right here.

I have a peace plan that goes along the same lines of what Jesus promised when he said that those who followed and loved him would be peacemakers.  It takes the word “peace” and uses it as an acrostic for action.  Here is my peace plan:

P – Practice being good news.  This is what we need; hope, real hope, tangible, sustainable hope; the hope that is based on the foundation of what God has committed Himself to do in a world of sorrow and pain.  There is always hope for those who turn form their ways and embrace the love and grace of God.  Let’s be the people who know what it’s like to be loved.

E – Extinguish prejudice wherever we find it. As many of you know, Pat Robertson made a declaration that the earthquake is a judgment of God.  Whether it is or isn’t, this statement as it stands, is a great example of prejudice; the prejudice that comes from someone or some source that has an overinflated estimation of their own understanding of God’s ways. So instead of deciding who’s to blame and who deserves God’s judgment and God’s grace, let’s strike out prejudice wherever we find it.  God loves people as they are, not as they ought to be.

A – Advance the good. What is your career?  Does your career advance the good, or just give you a paycheck?

C- Compassion that leads to action. What are the actionable steps you can take where you are that would relieve the pain and suffering, to help be a force of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation?

E – Embrace the suffering. This is what Jesus did, and this is what we should do.

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