Haiti And America Really Aren't That Different
A week. Only a week.
It flew by and felt like a lifetime all at once.
I saw a level of poverty on a scale that I had never seen before in Haiti.
An entire nation, living in conditions we only see in America within our homeless population – and even then, the lack of resources just does not compare.
No electricity. No running water.
“Homes” consist of thin, plywood boarded walls, with square, tin roofs.
Healthcare is rare and unsafe. Unemployment rate is >70%. And enough money for food is nothing short of a miracle.
And yet, in spite of it all, I don’t think the Haitians are much worse off than we are.
At least, not in the spiritual realm of things.
We all struggle with the same sin. Our brokenness is universal. And our need for a savior became both beautifully and painfully evident to me on this trip.
In America however, we can take our sin and hide it behind our “quick fixes”, our success, our education, and ultimately ourselves.
We have become self dependent, med-dependent, and money-dependent.
At least, I know in many cases I am.
But ultimately the consequences of our sin are the same.
And while Haiti may be suffering now, due to a history of persecution, oppression, and rampant sin, we will all suffer for eternity if we do not repent and allow our hearts to be changed.
Similar to America, marriage in Haiti is seen as a financial burden, a commitment that is frequently broken, or a relationship that should be tested first through pre-marital sex and living together before actually entering into.
In America, the consequences of this take on marriage look like divorce. It looks like ugly financial and custody settlements.
In America, when two people abuse God’s gift of sex and use it in a place He didn’t intend for it to be used, people suffer. Two people give themselves completely to another and then things don’t work out. They end up broken-hearted and feeling like a part of them has been ripped away.
In America, this sin looks like abortion. It looks like millions of lives takenbecause they are viewed as a consequence instead of a blessing. And it looks like men and women giving themselves over to their lust and calling it their identity.
In Haiti, this sin looks like single mothers with 3-5 children and no job. It looks like another mouth to feed with no food to feed it. It looks like rampant STDs with no medical care to treat them. And it looks like children without fathers, and a country filled with people who don’t even know what a family unit looks like.
And now, we both are left with broken homes, broken hearts, and broken nations.
JESUS DOESN’T JUST SAVE LIVES, HE CHANGES THEM
Also similar to Americans, many Haitians say they have accepted Jesus as their savior but continue to live in their sin.
Just about every single patient I talked to could tell me who Jesus was and what He did for us.
Which was a miracle in it of itself! Praise God for the faithful ones who had gone before us.
But many still had children with no husband. Or the men who had children, had no plans to marry.
Some would go to church on occasion, but never really get super involved.
In America, this looks like the Christians who claim to be Christian based on how they grew up or where they grew up, but still continue to go out and get drunk, or not value their spouse, or find their identity in their work or who don’t read God’s word every day.
It looks like Christians who are more concerned with their life and their family and their comfort instead of being concerned with the eternal destination of their families and their neighbors.
I grew up believing Jesus died for me, but that never once had an implication on how I lived – I just did “good” things because people wanted me to. And by the time I got to college, I didn’t want to do those things anymore.
If we just say that we believe in Jesus and never take it any further, what’s the point? Or if we know who Jesus is but can’t explain Him or the Bible or the facts we know to be true to someone else, how is our faith different than anyone else’s?
Why did Jesus even die if we were just going to see His death as an excuse to continue sinning?
GOD WANTS ALL OF YOU
God has not been pursuing us since the beginning of time so that we would continue to live our lives apart from Him.
God didn’t give us His son or His word so that we could continue living how we see fit. He gave us His son and His word so that we would know where true life is found and how to have it to the fullest.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
On the outside, Haiti may appear to be more broken than we are here in the states, but on the inside, we’re not all that different.
In America, we have the resources, we have the jobs, and we have the education that enable us to live without having to depend on something other than ourselves.
We can let our sin in our lives without seeing such drastic, instant, and tangible consequences. Many times we can even make our sin work for us. We can justify it and rationalize it.
God wants better for us. He knows that sin ultimately causes pain and leads to death. But He wants us to have life to the full.
He wants us to profess His name and He wants to be the Lord of our heart.
And He’s waiting right now for His church to go to work. To bring as many of His children home as possible. So that He can return, to restore and bring peace to all the earth.
Will we go to work? How can we live in such a way that will help in restoring both Haiti and America today?