Australia has been in the news lately for its severe flooding. The last couple of days I’ve seen similar news in a Spanish newspaper about flooding in Brazil, but it wasn’t until this morning that anything showed up on CNN.
Now Australia is a very modern and industrialized country. Despite the massive flooding, only 15 people have died, though over 70 are still missing. In Brazil, a much poorer nation, over 350 people have died, and many more are missing. Why the discrepancy in news coverage?
For one, Australia is considered more Western and more like America than Brazil. We have similar interests, a common language, strong economies, and lower poverty levels. We look at the destruction in Australia with great interest because we see it as a possible worst-case scenario here as well.
Brazil, on the other hand, does not share a similar culture or language. Our histories are linked back to a common nation. Since we are wealthy and affluent, we are more concerned about what happens to other wealthy and affluent nations than what happens to nations with higher rates of poverty.
While it is natural to be drawn to people who are like us, it is the gospel that urges us to take an interest in those who are not like us. Because Christ has come and brought us salvation through his life, death, and resurrection, he has made us into a new group of people bound not by language, culture, or heritage, but by the blood of the Son of God.
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The bond of believers has no basis on our ethnicity, cultural heritage, economic status, gender, etc. because we are united in Christ. The old bonds no longer tie us down.
The gospel then, is its own impetus for mission: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them… I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:19, 22-23).
Let us then take an interest in those who are not necessarily of the same culture, language, or economic status as we because the gospel has freed us from the categories we were previously bound to.