Here’s the scoop.
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Once the miners realised they would be saved they signed a “blood pact” to not reveal all that happened beneath the Atacama desert, he said. (source)
In the euphoria of rescue the grim reality of what really happened in the mine, especially in the seventeen days prior to any hope of deliverance, is eclipsed by sheer joy and relief, but it is going to pose a real ethical and spiritual challenge of epic proportions for those miners who do profess Jesus Christ as their Lord. Collin Hansen effectively uses the joy of answered prayers for the miners as a springboard to discuss the problem of unanswered prayers and shares the heart-thrilling details that evangelicals love to hear about the conversion of some of the miners while in the depths of the earth. This is all very heart-warming stuff.
But what about the “blood pact” of secrecy? When men think they are going to die and there is no hope of deliverance horrible things can be said and done. And we have already heard that indeed this was the case. Suppose one man alone objected to the desperate evil that was perpetrated in the bowels of the earth as desperate men prepared to die, but when the first hope of rescue entered their tomb those most reprehensible exacted a “blood pact” of silence from the innocent or less-guilty on pain of death? Suppose the psychological difficulties of the younger miner are really matters of conscience and fear? Perhaps he dreads living a long life with a buried secret. Perhaps he cannot reconcile certain men who were for several days monsters being hailed as heroes today. Perhaps a youngster cannot piece together in his mind how men who were ready to cannibalize each other are now going to be rich for the rest of their lives as “los 33″ bonded together by a “blood pact,” but marketed to the world as a team forged together by the bonds of human goodness and the will to live.
The Christian ponders on the first 17 days in the earth without the naivete of the average worldling. While the world premises their analysis of men in crises on the assumption that man is fundamentally good, Christians know that man is fundamentally bad. Christians of all people should know the power of hope and the danger of being among men who have no hope at all. During the 17 days of hopelessness there were only a few (if the reports are accurate) that were really not entirely hopeless. They were those who have Jesus as their Savior. Thus, they could know and feel in actuality what David spoke of hyperbolically, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” (Psalm 139:8)!
But what about those who became persuaded of death? The persuasion of death, far from being a deterrent of evil, is actually an incentive to evil. Hopelessness foments horror. And the fear of death leads to sin. What does a “blood pact” hide? A realist and a cynic (and a cynic is a realist as any good cynic will tell you :-)) knows that it wasn’t all heroic down there. Actions and thoughts and words were done and said that the miners wish could be forever buried in the mine. But now they are seared into their souls and memories. It is naive to think that the “blood pact” hides merely the humanity that we all know and expect as we imagine the crisis of facing death. No one would fault the miners for division, infighting, fear, crying, mental and emotional breakdowns, and even the contemplation of necessary cannibalism. There would be no need of a “blood pact” to hide these realities and, in fact, all of the above have already been mentioned as part of the scenario “los 33″ faced while in their captivity. It does not conceal what we already know and accept about humanity; it very likely conceals what humanity does not want to know about itself. It does not hide the fact that they were occasionally weak and in despair. We already know that.
The “blood pact” conceals far more. It conceals what humans do not know about humans. In the depths of the earth those men discovered, not the goodness of men, but the evil of men. Now, in the light of day, they are bound by a “blood pact of silence” that was made as soon as the first beam of hope penetrated their cavern. It was the hope of rescue that brought desperate men to their senses and some, if not all, of them realized that life required accountability and therefore the “blood pact” was made. I speculate that the idea of silence was imposed upon the less-guilty by the most reprehensible. They, of course, have the most to lose at the new dawning of accountability.
The questions are complicated. Having said what I have said, I don’t necessarily think that it is profitable to air out everything. Secrets are not always bad. Sometimes they are prudent. But I find it difficult to believe that the “blood pact” was not imposed upon one or two or several against their moral instincts but conceded to in accordance to their survival instincts. Perhaps even with a threat of death. These men knew that if they were rescued from their grave that it would be sealed for years to come. Reducing “los 33″ to “los 32″ would not be a problem and “los 32″ would never tell the world about the whistleblower. Some are going to find it difficult to live with the secrets, especially if they made it under duress. Some may feel that they are still under duress. “Through fear of death they were subject to life-long slavery” (Hebrews 2:15).
What does a Christian do in this case? One can only hope that those who are innocent have godly counsel. Truth will surface. The secrets are not buried deep under the Chilean desert. The All-Knowing God will choose to let truth rise to the surface in days or maybe after many, many years. Or only at the judgment. But the truth is not buried. Even a “blood pact” among “los 33″ who have shared a harrowing experience cannot harbor the facts.
The reality, however, is that Christians look on as the world does its best to ignore the facts of the human heart and we know that as hopelessness increases and accountability decreases that hearts already identifiably sinful will expose themselves as shockingly evil. Much of the horror of hell will be the discovery of humanity.
One miner said, “I was with God, and I was with the devil. They fought and God won.” In Christ this is the ultimate testimony. Sometimes a Christian finds himself in the depths and discovers the unsettling reality of the darkness of his heart. Like the miners he finds himself completely swallowed up in darkness and the feeling of hopelessness gives rise to blasphemous thoughts, lusts, and suicidal despair. He cries to God. The fact that he cannot help but cry out to God assures his heart that he is with God. Everything else reminds him he is with the devil. And they fight. God wins with hope. In the depths of discovery, when our human heart becomes so frighteningly transparent to us, we need to know that God will hear us and forgive us. A “blood pact” will keep the unforgiving world, naive about the realities of the human heart, at bay. But forgiveness from God is the beam of light at the end of a long tunnel that gives man the hope to live again. And before God we can pour out our hearts and the secrets of our humanity that we learned in the depths. O, that God would grant to these men full salvation in Jesus Christ and may they understand the real power of David’s penitential psalm:
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.