Read: Luke 13:1-5

Every blogger writes from some motivating circumstance or context. Consequently, I need to tell you that what you are about to read comes from what I have been observing—a national tragedy AND the disappointing condition of my own heart. 

Let me explain. [I pray that my thoughts won’t be confusing to you.] I have been watching the effects of the devastating tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma yesterday. Lives have been lost-- young and old alike. Entire neighborhoods have been obliterated. Like you, I watched in sadness and horror! And then over against this tragedy I remembered another blog post I read four days earlier. It was a post from a Christian who warned another community that they should be prepared for tornadoes and earthquakes, BECAUSE their state legislature had just endorsed the right to same-sex-marriage. The writer said, “Be prepared and be warned, because God is going to judge us.” 

Please hear my heart. I am not dismissing the pros and cons of what another Christian believes. And I am not making light of the tragedy in Oklahoma. But I found myself saying, “Wait a minute, God. You struck the wrong community. How could you? How could you allow such tragedy to occur?” 

And then I…remembered. I remembered the words of Jesus in Luke 13:1-5. To understand all that Jesus was saying, be sure to read His words in their larger context. In Luke 12:54-56 He chastised His listeners for making accurate predictions about the weather, but failing to realize they were living in the presence of the Messiah. They assumed that life was moving on as it always had. Then in Luke 12:57-59 He warned them to settle legal disputes before they ever ended up in court. Apparently they assumed they would gain a favorable verdict when in reality they might not. And then in our text, Luke 13:1-5, some people asked Jesus to comment on some unidentified slaughter Pilate had conducted. They assumed that the “victims” were terrible sinners because of their tragedy. But notice that Jesus essentially responds to all of these “assumptions” by calling for repentance—not speculation!

What’s the point? We all make assumptions about life. We assume that some people are good and deserve good. We assume that other people are bad and deserve judgment. I have no idea what you think about natural disasters one way or another. But there is something we must remember: JESUS SOMETIMES ALLOWS US TO SEE DISASTER AS A REMINDER THAT WE NEED TO REPENT. 

Maybe you are saying, “This parable isn’t for me, because I’ve already repented! Jesus is my Savior!” Or maybe you are upset with what I have written, only to respond, “Harry, you are trivializing a horrible disaster, and you are making God into a monster!” Please notice that I am not attributing yesterday’s events to God—either His power or powerlessness. What I do believe this parable is saying is that the Spirit of God often uses all of life’s events to move us away from judging others to examine the condition of our own hearts.

I can only speak for myself, but I need to repent from my propensity to live in fear—fear of what other people think and fear of the future. I need to repent from my judgmentalism. I need to repent and turn away from my pride and the tendency to think that my “blessings” are my doing. I need to repent of my lack of love and compassion for people who are hurting all around me. 

Can you identify with any of my shortcomings (better translated “sins”)? If so, watch the news, and then set aside time to examine where you might need to repent. Watch what is going on around you, and ask King Jesus how He wants you to respond with His love.

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