This morning I turned on my computer to discover that homosexuals were being blamed for causing the earthquake on Tuesday. In fact, I think the exact wording was ”lesbians running loose on the South Island as if they own the place.” This can’t be found anymore, it was on a website that is now “temporarily unavailable.” Alongside this, MPs around New Zealand have allegedly received emails from Christians telling them that civil unions, as well as abortions and legalising prostituions, are to blame for the earthquake. So now I have my joke answer for when people ask why this happened, “It was those darn gays, always running loose like they own the place,” but more seriously, as a Christian, I have something to answer for.
Nothing in my Bible indicates to me that this happened in any way because of the gays, the prostitutes, or any other sin. My Bible tells me that God has already dealt with the sins of the people of Christchurch. He did not send His Son into the world to die for the world, just to continue punishing people through natural disasters, war, or any other means.
Yes, in Old Testament times, God did send certain calamities to punish people for their sins. But in Old Testament times, people used to have to sacrifice pure animals, only eat certain foods, and live in a way that showed complete dedication to God in order for their sins to be forgiven. We are not living in Old Testament times.
Our sins were dealt with 2000-odd years ago on the cross. And it’s a once-and-for-all deal. God will punish those who do not follow Him when He rewards those who do. If the earthquake was punishment, then what about all the Christians affected? If they’re being punished, then the blood of the lamb did not cover their sins. I have something to be very, very afraid of if God’s sacrifice does not save me from His wrath, as He promises it does.
Shortly before Jesus death, He promised things like this would happen. At the end of a long speech in which He tried to prepare His disciples for what would happen, Jesus said to them “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b) In this world, there will be earthquakes. There will be cancer, there will be rape, there will be hunger, there will be nightmares. In this world, you will have trouble. But Jesus doesn’t say that in this world you will be punished, He doesn’t say anything at all to answer to the trouble we will experience. He just reminds us that He has already overcome the world. He is bigger, stronger and more powerful then anything this world throws at us. And the interesting thing is that, as far as I can see, no where in John 16 does Jesus say “You’ll have trouble, and it’s probably punishment for various sins.” It’s like having trouble is just a given. Not a punishment, but a natural part of life. But take heart! He says.
“Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.