4 Things We Can Learn from Pat Robertson’s Haiti Remarks

So I have struggled on whether or not I should even weigh in on the big “Pat Robertson” saga.  Not that my opinion matters.  But then again, I think that I do have some insight.  Is it fresh and new?  Probably not.  Has someone already blogged it?  I’m sure.  I just need to get this off my chest.

#1.  Use Discretion.

There is a time and place for everything.  In all fairness (I guess I’ll get flamed for this pretty heavily), there is some wisdom in what Pat Robertson says.  If this whole “pact with the Devil” thing is true (there are plenty of sources denouncing that this ever happened, including some who are devout Christians from Haiti) there could be a huge degree of spiritual oppression.  I believe in spiritual oppression and that it can affect a person, a city, a state, or an entire country.  I also believe there can be freedom from such oppression.  Regardless, you don’t need to sling this in the face of a country who is in devastation and crisis.  Our response should be of love and compassion, not shame and judgment.

#2.  Blow It Early, Lose it Late

I suspect that 90% or more of the people who have commented on Pat Robertson’s remarks never watched the entire clip.  (I have the clip above, as long as the source is available).  Most people heard a sound byte or saw a tweet or a blog comment or a headline … and made their judgment.  It’s clear from the comments that most people didn’t hear Pat’s entire message in context.  I’m not defending him or his comment.  But  … he says everything that he says to bring the final resolution .. the last 10-15 seconds or so, that most people probably never watched.  He says we need to pray for revival, for a returning to God, and then he goes on to talk about how we can send aid and relief, and how we can pray for them.

But … because of the insensitive judgment and remarks EARLY in his interview, he BLOWS the opportunity to be heard later on when he asks people to pray for the country and send aid.  The message:  blow it early, lose it late.  Watch what you say, because if you lose your audience early, they’ll never hear your resolution.

#3.  Disagree in Love, not in Hate

I agree, the timing of Pat’s remarks and the nature in which they would be interpreted was not good.  However, the tone and words in which we (Christians) have expressed our disagreement are far more hateful and harmful to the witness of Christ.  Do we really think that publicly calling a fellow Christian (and yes, despite some of his off-the-wall comments and judgments, I do believe he is a Christian) all sorts of names and ridicules is expressing the love of Christ.  We condemn him for the “harm” he’s caused the witness of Christ; yet, we call him “f*** idiot”, among other things.  “Go to hell, Pat”.  Yeah, that’s real Christian of us.  I expect these comments from the lost, but from Christians?  We’ve done just as much harm.  I think there is a way to disagree and express our disagreement with respect and love, not with judgment and hate.

#4.  Just Because You Think It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Say It

This really goes with #1, Discretion.  But here’s the deal.  Just because you know something … just because God showed you something (or so you think) … it doesn’t mean you’re supposed to spout it out.  Especially on television or the internet.  Sometimes you are made aware of something so that you will pray.  Sometimes, you address a situation privately.  But many times, you say nothing at all.  You water it in prayer, and ask God for wisdom on what to do or say.  You don’t have to say everything you think.  It’s really that simple.

So, was there a “pact” made with Satan earlier in Haiti’s history?  I don’t know.
If there was, could it bring on a spiritual oppression?  I believe so.
If that’s true, is that the cause of an earthquake?  I don’t know.  I doubt it.  There was a fault line under Haiti long before there was any pact made with the devil, if indeed that happened.

Most importantly:
What is God’s heart for the people of Haiti?

God loves them more than anyone could imagine.  He grieves over this disaster.  He grieves over the previous condition of the land, over the poverty, over the corruption.  It’s as opposed to the Kingdom of God as you can get.

God’s heart is to see a nation rise up, to call on Him, to honor Him.  His desire is to pour out his blessings on that land so that they may shine.  His desire is to comfort the hurting, the lost, and the broken.  His desire is to come quickly and rescue those who call on His Name in surrender.

That, my friends, I can say with confidence.

So, comment away.  I’ll try not to censor, even if you are against what I shared.  What I will censor is hateful remarks hurled at anyone.  That’s not what this community is about.

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42 comments on “4 Things We Can Learn from Pat Robertson’s Haiti Remarks

    1. Thanks, Kit .. how ’bout a RT!?

  1. Jerrod says:

    Sensitivity training will never get anyone into heaven, the Truth will. I can see that you & I agree more on this than most, but I don’t agree that Pat did anything wrong. People reacted wrong, period.

    1. Jerrod,
      For me, it’s not so much about “wrong or right”, but “when and if”. The points that he brings up are valid points, and should be discussed, but maybe not 24 hours in the face of such tragedy. Now, whether that’s a topic for discussion or not is totally blown in the eyes of most. Bring it up again, a few months out, and it’s a joke. Thus … “blow it now, lose it late”.

  2. klampert says:

    right or wrong it was bad timing…

    it should have been said as this and this only…
    “today there was an earthquake…many hurt and many killed…My heart breaks for these people because they are God’s children…please join me to pray for them..” end of story..

    Instead he goes into them making a pact with the devil which I remember correctly we all have done “ALL have sinned and fallen short” and then he does sorta blame this tragedy on that but maybe not ..hard to tell..
    but what he does say is…
    hopefully this tragedy makes them turn back to God.

    That IS a horrible thing to say no matter the timing…
    we should hope everybody finds Christ but saying…well..maybe now that they have been crushed they will seek the Lord is very unChristlike.

    It’s hard not to read this as bad and poorly spoken. the guy does not ahve the best track record and from speaches like this it’s obvious he doesnt have people monitoring what he says.

    1. Travis says:

      I tend to agree with Klampert.

      Timing is not really the issue. It would have been wrong to say that in such a public and demeaning fashion no matter what… to me. However, timing did make it far worse.

      Seems like that was a pretty big stone cast by Robertson.

      Whether it is true or not, part of the reason or not… it doesn’t mean it needs to be said. He blanketted a LOT of Haitian people under a statement that most certainly does not represent all of them.

    2. Well said Klampert! This hit the nail on the head!

  3. … he says quote .. “and out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good will come”.

    I don’t see any wrong in that. After 911 … our churches were filled with people praying. That was good. For a while, people laid politics aside, and just loved. That was good. Out of that tragedy, something could came. Hearts turned to God, we realized how desperately we needed Him.

    Again and again, I agree … the remark had horrific timing and I agree with Travis’ remark, that it was a blanket statement that is very hurtful to so many …

  4. Mike Ruel says:

    Thank you. The danger in making comments like Mr. Robertsons is that it seems to create an attitude of “let’s write them off because they somehow deserved it.”

    Well, here’s the thing…I deserve Hell.

    God didn’t write me off, He came here in the form of Jesus and gave his very life to pay for my sins that deserved Hell. He showed amazing mercy and grace in reconciling me to a holy God.

    I firmly believe we are called to imitate God (Eph 5:1) and that means show mercy and share Christ.

    Let God worry about the reasons for why this happened please.


    1. Mike,
      Here’s a big AMEN to that.

      1. Just to clarify,
        My “amen” is to that fact that we all deserve Hell, apart from Christ’s redemption, and that we should imitate Christ. As for God worrying about it … well, God doesn’t worry (touche, I know you already know that), and I think we should always be praying and asking for wisdom as to why things happen, how to prevent them, IF we can prevent them, and HOW we should respond. God is sovereign, yes … but He, in His sovereignty, has left quite a bit of responsibility and control to us “down here”.

  5. Jason says:

    Here’s my two cents, or with the opinion tax deducted, one cent. God is sovereign. In His sovereignty, all things, whether we understand or not, will glorify Him. Whether it is a devastating event that gives His children the opportunity to flesh out their faith (or their pocket books by donating funds), or a devastating event that will give those “under satanic oppression” to opportunity to cry out to Him for mercy. When I woke this morning and turned on the news, they showed people laying in the dark streets, then they showed a group who were singing, and worshiping the Lord. (Yeah you could read their lips through the tears.) Now, we could listen to the misspoken comments of an elderly “Finney-ist”, or see for ourselves how the people affected are responding. Granted what we see is usually skewed by media, but every Haitian they talked to who was either bandaged, recently rejected from a makeshift hospital, or holding their child in the dark on the side of the street . . . they were all smiling. You know what I, this is just me speaking, saw? Hope. They have hope in a seeming hopeless situation.
    So, how is the believer to respond? Biblically, we must feed and clothe those who need feeding and clothing. We must do unto the least of these. This is where we as Christians can choose to acknowledge the rantings of an elderly, oft confused, television celebrity who wears a dirty coat of many colors, or we can put our proverbial boots to the ground, and get our hands or our wallets dirty. May Christ shine to the world by those who flesh out their faith by doing what He commands. Anything less . . . belongs on TBN.

  6. This is the first I have heard about any of this Pat Robertson stuff. I looked at the clip. I was intrigued by it. I see how the “blow it early, lose it late” (EXCELLENT point there brother – I intend to use that one for a long time to come).

    However, I don’t think the nature of what Pat said was wrong. There IS a time and a place for everything, and Pat is pretty well known for being “historically correct”.

    Bottom line Fred? I see people – even on this site – judging others for having a different perspective than they have. Any time somebody says something like “it should have been said as this and this only…”, it totally shuts out any other way of seeing something.

    We need to pray for Haiti. But we also need to understand spiritual warfare and the consequences.

    The prophetic is what it is – blunt, to the point. Not many people ever said that what they did and how they acted looked “loving”. But it was simply another perspective of love that many of us can’t handle.

    Hope this didn’t jump around too much.

    1. The prophet was always sent to the people. Not told to shout out to the masses, that people group over there are doing or have done bad things. The prophet is sent to the people. If you have a message from God, take it to them. Tell them in their suffering that it is their fault. That they are to blame for this tragedy while holding lost loved ones in their arms.

      The other issue I have is that lost people will not hold on for the ending comments. As soon as the first words came out of his mouth, they shut him out. Evidenced by the media. No one cares that God and Pat Robertson love them and good is going to come out of this tragedy. They heard that it was their fault for some mysterious pact with the Devil and then drop the rest of the conversation.

  7. I don’t hear Pat Robertson making his remarks in a hateful or judgmental way. I was surprised actually, after reading comments here and elsewhere regarding what he said, to hear the gentle nature in which he was setting the context of Haiti’s history. He didn’t sound judgmental, but compassionate when talking about the poverty and terrible living conditions that exist there because of actions taken long ago.

    Anyway, my prayer in this is that, just like on the day of Jesus’ death, the enemy thought he’d won a tremendous victory – when he’d actually been dealt an ultimate, irreversible defeat – that in Haiti, what has begun as a cataclysmic disaster will be turned by the power of God to His glory, and that the nation will be be restored and rebuilt spiritually, governmnentally, economically, in every way as an powerful and eternal testimony of the triumph of the mercy and power of Almighty God.

  8. JonWesley says:

    Right said, Fred. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) “Just Because You Think It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Say It” I still teach this to children and adults; we would say, “Just because it’s IN your head doesn’t mean it has to come OUT!” (A closely related saying is, “Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should WEAR it!” But that’s for another blog… ooh, and it might preach…)

  9. Russ Hutto says:

    God’s children? Yes. Does He love them? Yes.

    Does that mean He won’t allow bad things to happen to them? No.

    Has God allowed tragedy, disaster, war, famine, exile, slavery, etc. to discipline, correct, punish, strengthen, woo, shake, change, embolden, challenge, call out to, draw, get the attention of those He loves.

    Yes. It’s what the ENTIRE history of our faith is made up of.

    I’m not saying that God is judging the people of Haiti. I’m not saying that He is punishing them. But I am saying that God is not contained in our box of “Oh, He’d never allow a tragedy to bring people to Him.”

    Because the Bible I read is chock full of it. In fact, the ultimate tragedy…His Son…brutally beaten and murdered by the very ones He came for was in fact the PIVOTAL point in human history. And that was part of God’s plan.

    The Bible is very clear that as the Day draws near, that these sorts of things will happen. As as they do we need to understand that it IS part of God’s plan to allow them to happen. Why? Because He works in them to draw mankind to Himself.

    All that being said: let us pray more than ever. Let us live eagerly awaiting His return. If we’re not pouring our prayer and physical resources into these situations with HIS RETURN in mind, then we’re just being benevolent for no reason.

    And honestly, I’d rather be accused of living for THE BIGGEST EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY (even called a zealot) than to just be a good person that lives a pretty good Christianity.

  10. Kim Cook says:

    Fred – this is an FANTASTIC assessment of the situation, both spiritually and emotionally! Discretion is the key when you are in leadership! Thanks for this great word!

  11. Scott Underwood says:

    Well said my friend. Thanks for the call to examine ourselves, our timing and also to “season our words with salt.”

  12. Mike says:

    It’s a tough place to be and try and reasonably figure out what happened and why. On the one hand, there is ample biblical evidence that God does in fact put judgements upon entire peoples. No doubt there were some good-hearted people in Babylon, Canaan, Jerichio, etc… And in Israel.

    On the other hand, is it really helpful to say something like Pat said, the way he said it, and especially when he said it? Short answer – nope.

    Jesus’ teachings were above all about love. Pat did not show much love yesterday. If he felt so strongly about this, then there would be a time and a place to have a reasonable discussion about it. After the dust had settled. If he felt Haiti needed prayer, he could have (and should have) left it at that. I agree with Joel completely there.

    As an aside, there was a story on the news about a group of evangelicals in 1977 who believed exactly what Pat did. Supposedly, they went to Haiti, fasted and prayed for seven days, went to the tree where the pig was sacrificed and prayer-walked around it seven times. Apparently many of them susequently had identical visions of satan fleeing Haiti.

    So maybe Pat was just behind the times.

    1. I, for one, didn’t perceive any other feeling but love in what Pat said. Could it have waited? Probably so. Was it horrible what he said? I don’t think so.

      An “aside” of my own? When Jesus made the whip of cords and ran the animals out of the temple, turning over tables . . . . this was nothing but a teaching/display of love, as well. It just looked different.

      All I’m saying is this: just because somebody did something that I don’t think was right, or in a way that I wouldn’t do it, or at a moment that I don’t think was appropriate doesn’t mean that I am totally, 100% right!

      I have the capacity to be wrong. I have my own perspective of seeing things. So at the same time I can be 100% right, and 100% wrong at the same time.

      1. Mike Mahoney says:

        That was Jesus loving God more than man…

        And I don’t doubt that Pat felt a deep, personal concern for the people of Haiti, not for a moment. But obviously he never stopped to think about the effect his words would have on them, or Haitians across the US. And that’s not love.

  13. When my husband appreciates something enough to tell me I need to read it AND to leave a comment, that’s saying something. And this post, Fred, has articulated exactly what I feel about this situation. My fear is that all the hoop-la about Pat Robertson’s comment has, once again, distracted the Church from the task at hand … ministering to “the least of these.” Thank you for your example in first praying, then giving, and finally writing a post. We should all follow that pattern … I imagine it would change the tone of much of what we write.

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  22. Mike Grober says:

    thanks for another take on this – poor presentation on Pat’s part – good commentary on your part.

  23. Steve Hutto says:

    Excellent post Fred! I agree.

  24. CFHusband says:

    I am concerned with the Christian response to Pat’s statements, but since you covered it well here, I’ll point my comments toward the response of those who do not follow Christ.

    Unfortunately, I live about 100 miles from PR’s CBN headquarters (at one point, I actually served in a church less than a mile from CBN). PR and CBN/700 Club, at least in this area, has a very bad reputation among those who don’t know Christ. I’m personally not a fan of PR, but, except for when he does things like this, I leave him alone.

    Unfortunately, PR’s remarks (now and in the past) have a big effect on how our community views our church as well. For whatever reason, PR is often confused as a member of our church’s denomination, which creates even more distance when stuff like this comes around.

    I know that PR does some great things, and it’s obvious that he has an authentic heart for Haiti. But, if he’d simply learn to keep his mouth shut on stuff like this, our church might have fewer barriers to break down with our community in sharing the true heart of Christ.

    Of course, his remarks do create great opportunities for conversation, but, again, it’s something we could do without. Having to explain to people in our community that, “no, PR does not speak for me or share my views on many things about God and church” is something I’d prefer not to have to explain so often…

  25. Tania C Palmer says:

    Haiti was the first missionary trip I went on at age 9. I don’t see much difference in how they are living even after the earthquake after 31 years since I was there. The shame on all of us is that country needed our care way before now. I have been to 8 countries and this was by far the worse I saw. The sad thing is that it is so close to the richest country in the world. The people there do believe there was a pack made 100’s of years ago, so that does give it power. The witch doctors rule that island with fear. I wonder if all the Christians in the US would give Haiti one day of prayer to break this curse over their land that they would have hope that God is more powerful than any curse. Yes, Haiti needs our food, water but also the love of Christ. It would make Haiti stop and think if they knew there was a day of prayer just for them!I’m sure it would make the witch doctors at least tremble!Unity in Prayer will always make the biggest difference! Tania

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