Pieces of Haiti: Part 2

23 05 2011

Last night after church a group of us got together to share pictures and stories from Haiti for anyone who didn’t get the chance to go. It was great to reflect on an awesome week, but also to hear thoughts from other members of our team and see how God has been moving in their lives as a result of the trip. As I sat there listening to the stories, I was reminded of something else that I learned while in Haiti.

#2. For a nation that has so much, we really have very little.

We have a tendency to look at countries like Haiti and think they are so deprived because of their poverty. If we’re not careful, it can cause a spirit of pride or arrogance as Americans because we have more materials things than they have.

But does that necessarily make us better?

One thing about being in Haiti is that poverty is evident. You are confronted with it everyday as you walk the streets. However, the people there have so much joy, and they are probably the most hospitable people I’ve ever seen in my life. On several occasions we walked the streets asking people if we could pray for them and they would welcome us, complete strangers, into their home. One woman requested that we stand outside while she set out chairs and cleaned them in order for us to sit. Very humbling being that we were there to serve her. Anytime we went anywhere, if we said hello to anyone on the street, they would give us such a warm greeting in return.

In the US on the other hand, we have lots of things, which make it easier for us to hide the inner poverty of our souls. How many people here drive around in fancy cars and live in nice houses with flat screen TVs but are the meanest or most broken people you could ever meet? We’re a very individualistic society, so many of us rarely invite people into our homes, let alone invite people into our hearts. If someone came knocking on your door saying they’d like to share the love of God with you, would you pull out chairs for them? Would you even open the door? The Haitians were also very open to at least hearing the gospel. Even if they didn’t agree or didn’t want to give their life to Christ on that day, they were still at least willing to hear what we had to say. In America, we often find great pride in tearing down someone’s beliefs simply because we do not agree. No, we’re not deprived of things. Often we’re deprived of humanity and compassion. We’re deprived of connection with our neighbor. We’re deprived of going beneath the surface and dealing with the issues that plague our own soul.

As I reflect on these things I realize that all of humanity is living in poverty to some degree. For some societies it’s physical, for others it’s more spiritual.  One is not better than the other. But ultimately, only God can cure both.

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