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Was the Earthquake and Tsunami a Judgment from God?

Today’s Question: I heard someone say that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan was a judgment from God. What do you think? —M Garcia

Bible Answer: It is normal to want to know about tragedies and God’s role in them. This was the same type of question some inquirers asked Jesus about a recent atrocious act in their day. They wanted to know why certain Galileans had suffered worse than others: 

            Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

            Jesus anticipates another question people had, and that was about the tower of Siloam falling on eighteen people. He uses the recent calamities as object lessons for our own need to repent. Instead of giving a simple answer like “yes” or “no” about God’s judgment on Galileans or the people in Siloam; He prefers to use these incidents to spur the listeners to their own need to repent. He also conclusively proves that you cannot always judge a person’s lifestyle by whether or not bad things happen to them.

            Paul said it this way, “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them” (1 Tim 5:24). This passage shows that some receive judgment before the final judgment day, while others experience no judgment in this life, but will experience it in the life to come.

            So instead of focusing on the supposed terrible sins of the Japanese and God’s judgment on them; we should instead focus on our own sins and not be judgmental toward them. Also to show love, we must reach out toward Japan to help them in their suffering. Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13).

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