I have been spending a lot of time in 1 John these days. I’m reminded of a time when a teenager I was working with wanted to look at all the 3:16 verses in the New Testament. He figured that John 3:16 got all the attention but there must be some other great 3:16s around as well.
One of the 3:16 verses that I’ve been reminded of is 1 John 3:16. It explains how we should identify and measure love. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” There is even a Steve Green song based on it, but that never occurred to me until recently. Our responsibility is to follow in the Master’s footsteps and lay down our lives for the brothers. It’s actually incredible to think how far I fall short of doing just that – often choosing to pursue my own leisure or hobby to really giving of myself in a way that costs me something.
That passage goes on. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. Our love should be demonstrated in such a way that it is visible to those around us. After all, they’re supposed to be able to see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16) It’s kind of hard for unbelievers to see our love when it is invisible or so modest in its application that it is essentially unnoticeable. If you are a Christian and you demonstrate your “love’ in the same way an unbeliever would you are simply not doing it right. You are capable of so much more and God demands much more.
How does this involve Haiti? After all, Haiti is a spiritually dark place famous for voodoo dolls and corrupt government. The people there are heathen who have rejected every aspect of the Gospel, and don’t deserve our help, right?
Not exactly. There are lots of good Christians in Haiti who are suffering a lot. There is a good chance they have suffered more in the last week than you have in your entire life. We have friends in the Dominican Republic who work with Haitian churches. Here is a recent report:
Also, of the 150 pastors who Pastor Angel works with in Haiti and who were involved in previous training, 70 of those pastors are now dead.
Pastor Angel said there are a bunch of dead bodies, and people dying in the streets. For the people he already helps and knows, there is an immediate need for food, water, bandages, first aid help. There are many with broken bones. A team of Christian doctors from the DR are going to help him. They have a good set up to help. Any money sent below will help him buy food, water, and supplies. He is bringing food and a large gas stove from the DR to come and cook for all these. He said people who survived are all gathering in certain areas but need for basics are lacking. He is mobilizing Christian doctors to help the injured. He said there is need for disinfectant and all.
We have a duty to these Christians to love them with our resources even if we have never met them. Read the book of Acts and see how much time the first century church spent generating resources for brothers and sisters in Jerusalem who were struggling. In most of these cases the recipients were total strangers. I encourage you to support relief efforts for this reason, even if there were no other reason. World Relief is a Christian relief ministry committed to delivering resources through local churches. Additionally, our church will funnel resources to our sister church in the Dominican Republic to support their hands on efforts in Haiti.
But there is a greater point to make. To see the people of Haiti in this light is to forget where we were before God arrested our hearts and drew us to Himself. As bad as the Haitians may be as a nation, they compare much more favorably to us than we did to a perfectly holy God who loved us enough to send His Son to die a horrible death simply so we could be reconciled to Him. There is simply no comparison at all. We should be gracious because our Heavenly Father is gracious. Do the corrupt and spiritually dark Haitians “deserve” our support? Of course they don’t, but we deserved salvation from our sins much less and God paid an infinitely higher price than we would by opening our checkbook and sending some of our savings.
If you are inclined to support the Haiti relief through our sister church in the Dominican Republic there is information below.
Faith Bible Church has agreed to be a channel for relief funds to be channeled by Josue and administered under the general oversight of our church, locally, and, on site, Josue along with leaders from our sister church (IBSJ) in Santo Domingo for Haitian relief. At this point, funds can be sent to Faith Bible Church earmarked for “Haiti Relief”. We will try to set up a PayPal donation web page by Sunday (Jan. 17th) so that people can give from overseas or through credit/debit cards and bank checks. A link our our church Internet home page (www.FaithBibleChurch.us) will go to the donation page and from there, as the Lord enables, further news updates and financial accountability information.
Faith Bible Church
4907 E. Highway 34
Sharpsburg, GA 30277