I mentioned this in Sunday’s message.
Why is Paris all over the news and Nigeria isn’t? Don’t get me wrong. The tragedy and what is behind it going on in Paris and the lives lost and the issues at stake are important for the entire world. The lives lost there are important. And the losses and terror foisted upon the nation of France and all of Europe is not to be minimized.
But proportion is important too. All people matter. Americans matter. French people matter. Black people matter. White people matter. Asians matter. All people, no matter their ethnicity, nationality, or religious convictions matter. All people are image bearers of God. All people are to be respected and valued.
But the reports out of Nigeria have documented that while 12 people where being brutally murdered at a newspaper and 4 others in a Jewish market in Paris by a pair of jihadist terrorists, over 2,000 people (almost as many as where killed at the Twin Towers on 9/11), whole villages were being wiped out and burned to the ground. Boko Haram burned and ravaged 16 villages and one account said that the number of bodies were “too many to count.”
My answer is simple if a bit sarcastic.
“Because rich people are worth more than poor people. Because the northern hemisphere is considered more important and relevant to news media than the southern hemisphere. Because the West has turned its back on Kingdom ethics and put pragmatism on the throne. Because people in the West vacation in Paris but not in Nigeria. Because the world still needs Jesus and continues to reject both Him and His message.”
And where is the voice of the church and where is the passion of the church for the poor?
Jesus offered to the disciples of John the Baptist, seven proofs of his Messiahship when they came to him with the question: “Are you the one to come, or should we look for another?” (Luke 7:20-21). One of those proofs was “the poor have good news preached to them.” It does not surprise me that the West has turned its back on its Judeo-Christian heritage or that in an increasingly secular age, pragmatism reigns as an ethical system.
What does mildly surprise me is that the Church itself has largely abandoned its heritage. We are not known for our saving acts, our redemptive acts, our sacrificial service of the poor, and lonely, and outcasts. We are far more likely to be known for our judgment, our lack of love for others outside our camp, our selfish hoarding of resources. We don’t look like people who are living passionately for and like Jesus. And that is more than surprising. That is tragically sad.
Lord, help us to find the beams in our own eyes. Help us to resist the temptation to live for our own security, comfort and convenience. Deliver us from the evil of living for ourselves rather than your greater glory. In Christ’s name, amen.
You are now in a very small minority that knows anything about the Nigerian tragedy. Please pray for the suffering of people there and ask God what else He might have you do on their behalf.