Leadership, family, theology and world events
It seems that often our response is missing the target. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia makes us either spend too much time reading the news and posting opinions, or it causes us to be indifferent. Being indifferent doesn’t make us more more spiritual. It is easy to ignore a conflict when it happens to people we don’t personally know and when it doesn’t affect our daily life. Yet one of the most well known Bible’s stories, the Good Samaritan, accuses the people who didn’t help. They committed the sin of indifference. So, doing nothing is not an answer. Here is the list of things that we should be doing.
I know, this often sounds like a cliché. But the reality is that the escalation or de-escalation of the conflict as far as we know depends on one person or a small group. The common agreement among different experts is that little can be done to change the Russian president’s mind. This is the hard reality, unless we believe in the Sovereign God who laughs at this statement; the God who can change anyone’s heart directly or by using circumstances. I wish we could pray once and change would happen. Yet, the Bible teaches us to be diligent in our prayers.
I see two groups that we need to assist. First is the general population who is directly affected by the conflict. Also, there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have lost their church buildings and personal possessions. I am happy to see a lot of people in Ukraine, some of whom I know and many I others personally have never met, spend their time and resources to help others. But the truth is everyone in Ukraine is economically affected by the conflict. So, I’m afraid that soon the local volunteers’ help will drain. On the other hand, we who live overseas are mostly in good financial shape.
Preach the Gospel or support missionaries in the area of conflict.
It might sound wrong: but usually during hard times people are more receptive to the Gospel. It is a historical truth seen during different times and in different countries. During this awful time, the church in Ukraine has a great opportunity to lead people to Christ. We need to help this mission.
Some might disagree, saying, “look how many people are praying to God and asking for help; people in Ukraine already have turned to God”. I think more people are seeking God than ever before. The Bible clearly shows that such seekers have to meet a “preacher”, someone who would explain the Gospel to them. Do you remember the story of a centurion called Cornelius and the story of the Ethiopian eunuch? While both were religious and seeking God, He had to use people to explain the Gospel to them. If no such “preacher” exists, often the “seeker” will be left with religious zeal, but lacking a correct understanding of God.
I believe that these challenging times are also an opportunity for the Gospel. I don’t know how long this window of opportunity will last. It might last several years, or maybe only a couple years, but time is running out.