The news reports following Hurricane Matthew have saddened and disturbed me. As they say, “all news is local news,” I guess. The reports on national news always seem to start with how close the hurricane is to the USA and what preparations Americans are making to get ready. News from the devastation in Haiti, or even Cuba or the Bahamas now, is almost a footnote, practically an afterthought. The death toll in those places, already over 100 souls and bound to grow precipitously, apparently isn’t as newsworthy as the boarding up of windows in Miami or a potential loss of electricity in South Carolina.
Of course, those things matter too, but who isn’t my neighbor?
How different this is from God’s view of the news (if anything is actually ‘news’ to God). We do not seem capable as a society of assigning the same value to every person. American jobs are deemed more important than Bangladeshi jobs in this–and every–election cycle. And now our news programs show that perhaps even American property is more newsworthy than Haitian lives.
Where is the Reign of God in all this? Where are the so-called “people of God?” We seem to actually be far more myopic “people of America” with a few Bible verses thrown in to validate our self-righteousness.
I tip my hat to Bill & Melinda Gates, whose foundation’s focus is predicated on the simple yet paradigm-altering notion that every human life has equal value. Imagine how that guiding principle would actually lead to radically different priorities than almost any of us live… what we read, how we donate, our political views, how we pray.
This is such basic Jesus stuff! Yet we ignore it completely by thinking, “Well, I know people in Florida. I don’t know anyone in Haiti. And for the record, I don’t even like Cuba.”
A World Vision donor recently made a transformational gift to significantly expand our humanitarian work inside Syria. He’d been presented with several options, prayed about them and called my colleague with his decision. “I think I’m supposed to love my enemies” was all he said by way of explanation. Let’s let that soak in for a moment…
Not all news is good news, but it is all God news. I think I’m supposed to try to see the news, especially the people involved, the way God does.