I felt so helpless this morning as I prayed for the people in Boston. How Lord, have we gotten here?
They don’t know who planted those bombs but surely it’s the question on everyone’s mind. Was it a McVeigh or an Al-Zarqawi. The answer changes the context but not the bottom line.
Here’s how you know we live in a civilized nation: As the bombs exploded, cops, firemen and volunteers ran toward the blast, offering brave and selfless effort on behalf of strangers. As Mr. Rogers’ Facebook meme said yesterday, when something scary happens, people always run to help. May God richly bless you public servants and kindhearts everywhere.
Here’s how you know we don’t live in a civilized nation: All of us inflict lesser forms violence on one another every day. Given the ease with which we can do it on-line with no personal consequence, we spew hate on Facebook, slander our President, denigrate other cultures and shoot the bird in traffic, running up on their bumper to make sure they know we hate them for cutting us off.
Is it so hard to imagine that Boston’s bombing is the same behavior writ large? It’s hate. It’s unforgiveness. It’s our unregenerate, unrepentant human selves running the show like we know what we are doing. Like the coward who planted the bombs in Boston, we hide behind online profiles and wheel of our car. Rarely do we call someone an asshole to their face. We the plant bomb and run.
We are releasing our frustration and negativity into the world, in ways we believe are harmless. But our personal violence has spiritual impact on this planet we don’t even understand.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Evil celebrates every time a bomb explodes or a name is slandered. So when we pray to our God today, thinking ourselves righteous and civilized, asking how such evil happens, pause and consider that it happens everyday in our own hearts.
Friends, the answer is Jesus.
As he was mocked, whipped then tortured to death he said, “Lord please forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
We don’t know. We are selfish, fearful, unforgiving little creatures who carry all the potential in the universe to become the love of God. But if we could do it without him, we’d have done it by now. Jesus is the love of God incarnate, the Prince of Peace and the Messiah who came to the world, not judge it, but to save it. John 3:16-17.
It’s still our choice to believe that and live accordingly.