Broken by sin.
Like many of you, I was so sad to hear of the horrible bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I'm sure it will leave scars - both physical and emotional - for a very long time.
My Facebook feed has been buzzing with a number of different reactions to the bombings. Amidst the expressions of compassion and sympathy, some people are angry and want retaliation. Some are fearful that events like this are being used to advance liberal political agendas to take away our rights and guns. Some are wondering how a loving God could let things like this happen to innocent people. Others are pointing to "the helpers," encouraging us to focus on the good that's left in the world. I can relate to all of those feelings.
As a Christian, I am called to look at the world - and events like this - through the lens of what Scripture declares to be true.
When I feel anger towards the people who did this, I have to remember Ephesians 6:12:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.The people who did this horrible thing are not my enemies. They are sinners, just like me, who have believed a lie and have been taken captive by my real enemy, Satan. They need a Savior, just like I do.
When I feel fearful that the government will use this to take away my rights, I have to remember Romans 13:1-2:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: and the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.The verses above were written during a time when Christians were being burned at the stake and thrown to the lions by the government, so we can't argue that they only apply to benevolent and conservative leaders. Although I'm a die-hard advocate of the 2nd Amendment and small government, I have to remember that no matter how bad things get, God is still in control, and nothing happens that He does not allow. We are to fear God, not man.
When I wonder why God would allow things like this to happen to "good" people, I have to remember Romans 3:10-18:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
One of the drawbacks of having free will is that it gives us the freedom to act on the impulses of our wicked hearts. Apart from God, man's heart is full of evil, murder, and destruction. These are the kinds of things that we do of our own accord, and the fact that God hasn't wiped us all of the face of the earth for our rebellion against Him is evidence of His compassion, forbearance, and mercy. Evil acts like this will be punished with perfect justice one day, but God is graciously giving mankind time to repent and turn to Him for salvation first. A non-loving God would have destroyed humanity after that first act of rebellion in the Garden; but in His great compassion, God sent His own Son to take the punishment for our sin and die on the cross in our place, so that we could be reconciled to Him. That is love.
I suppose that's why the final reaction I mentioned - the admonitions to "look to the helpers" - leaves me feeling a bit unsettled. Don't get me wrong, I love Mr. Rogers (who wouldn't want a neighbor like that?), and I am very thankful for the bravery and selflessness of the first responders and bystanders who rushed towards the blasts to help when others were running away... But a humanistic optimism in the "goodness of man" is just as eternally damning as the lies believed by the terrorists. We don't look to "the helpers," in the midst of this fallen world. We look to Christ.
He alone can deliver us from evil.
To all those affected by yesterday's attack,
you are in my prayers.
May God give you comfort and healing during this difficult time.
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
- Psalm 147:3