Saturday, November 14, 2015

How do we stop it

This morning I heard that #prauforparis is the trending hashtag. And so I as I sat praying for the people of Paris this morning, I could not but ask myself how do we stop this. As Christians we know the gospel

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

So if we cannot return evil for evil what can we do? With that I began to go back and remember our most basic beliefs about the world, including our belief that everything created by God was good. Even Satan was created good. It was by the free choice of Satan and the other fallen angels that they fell. What made their sin graver than any we commit is that their free will was perfectly free, they did not experience the pull of original sin; it had not yet happened when they fell.

Every terrorist was born  into this world like you and me, a beautiful creation of God. They came into this world with the same primordial needs as you or me, including the need to be loved. Do we think for a moment that the terrorist's mother held him with less tenderness than we were held when we were born? Of course not.

Somewhere along the road that innocent child turned or was turned from the path. That innocent child began to listen to the voices of anger and hatred, until that anger and hatred boiled over in violence. And if we are to stop the violence we must find a way to keep the children on the right path.

Simpletons will tell you that the problem is a religious one. How many times have I heard atheists attempt blame religion for the violence in our world? I am always shocked when I hear Christians take up the atheist refrain. Every truly religious person is seeking God and therefore seeking truth.
What we are witnessing is not religion but its abuse. And it is true that there are examples throughout human history of every religion being abused.

Today I pray not only for those who died and their families. I pray for those who were injured, for those who were kidnapped, and their loved one who are living in terror of the unknown. I pray for all the victims. But I pray also for the young man or woman who is starting down the dark road of anger and hatred. I pray that God will send someone to be the angel in their life, to speak a word of truth, a word that will turn them toward the light.  As long as the voices of division, hatred, and anger are louder than the voices of unity, love, and peace, this problem will continue.

We can and should do everything we can to cut off the supplies of money and arms. But the truth is, hatred will aways find the tools it needs. In the end, if we are truly Christian we know that the only real solution is in the heart. Today and every day we should pray for the conversion of every angry man and woman of every nationality, race, and religion. Pray for the outpouring of God's love into their heart.