This year, like the year before, will have its fill of disaster, both natural and otherwise.

How are we to interpret such things?  Are they punishments from God?  Jesus’ disciples ask these very same questions.

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?

 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.

4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

Luke 13:1-5

Jesus tells us that disasters are not the punishments of God for sin.

Yet He tells us also to observe their tragedy and recognise that something worse awaits those who refuse to change for God.

Jesus goes even further and suggests that inert ‘believers’ may share a similar end (Luke 13:6-9).

Following this teaching Jesus would die on the cross; paying the price for our sins; suffering the eternal consequences of our rebellion.

To say that disasters are punishments for sin merely demonstrates a profound ignorance for what happened on the cross.

Next time you are overwhelmed by a disaster do three things:

  1. Pray for those effected.
  2. Demonstrate practical compassion
  3. Reflect on your own Christian integrity