My Twitter feed is full of pictures of missing children.
These are pictures of children who attended a concert in Manchester, England that was the site of another terrorist attack.
They are scattered through my feed…they all look precious today…they are precious…they were precious.
The pictures were posted by parents who fear that the most precious part of their lives may have been destroyed by incomprehensible evil.
They must have heard the news about the attack and prayed and waited..and waited…and then were reduced to finding a suitable photo to share in hopes that their child wasn’t one that will never come home.
What they are going through today is more horrific than I can imagine and so much more than they ever imagined in their worst nightmares.
Some have already received a call that the nightmare is real.
The call will not mention that the nightmare will never end in this life.
They say that the attacker is dead and I’m glad…I try to find some small measure of justice in thinking about the pains of hell the person instantly began to experience.
It fails to bring any comfort at all.
There is no comfort when a child dies.
Over on Facebook most are horrified, others are angry because they have been trying to tell us that this is what Islam is all about.
There are warnings of more death to come…either at the hands of the Muslims or the hands of those who believe they are protecting against them.
The best answer either side can come up with is more death.
War is in the air…war against the Muslims, war between the left and right in our own country, war with brother against brother.
War is putting on it’s noble robes gain.
War will make this country what God intended it to be…if only we identify who the enemy is that needs to die.
Unfortunately, we all qualify in someone else’s eyes.
That’s what war does…it makes everybody someones enemy…and someones target.
We go to the Bible to find a better way.
It speaks to us of sacrificial love and death to self.
We close the book and look for a better way than that.
I have no answers to the terror abroad or the coming terror at home.
I only know that death breeds death.
We have to rightly understand the nature of Islamic terror.
We have to rightly acknowledge the potential for our own.
I weep for Manchester.
I weep for us.
Our children will die too…
i hear your heart, Michael – weeping with those who weep now
some have commented that they cannot worship a God who lets things like this happen… perhaps they might consider that the God we worship is the only One holding such evil in check…
sadly, evil is more real to us than God, i think – yet, it is still a mystery
It is a deep mystery.
I fear that in reacting to evil, we may become as evil as what we fight.
I remain convinced we are better than what we have shown…
My social media feed was full of people offering free rides home, places to stay, ways to connect children and parents, hotels that were caring for kids.
Look for the helpers.
Some people are feeding the monster, on both sides.
I fear too many people are going to answer to the drums of war, and bring very bleak times on the world. Too many people seeming willing to bring the whole building down on themselves.
Like London shows, there are lots of people who step up and help in crisis. However, they don’t get a lot of press. Just keep beating the war drums.
I believe this Psalm is fitting in times like this:
“Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods?
Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?
2 No, in heart you work unrighteousness;
On earth you weigh out the violence of your hands.
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
These who speak lies go astray from birth.
4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent;
Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
5 So that it does not hear the voice of charmers,
Or a skillful caster of spells.
6 O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth;
Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.
7 Let them flow away like water that runs off;
When he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.
8 Let them be as a snail which melts away as it goes along,
Like the miscarriages of a woman which never see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the fire of thorns
He will sweep them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.
10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 And men will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely there is a God who judges on earth!’ ” (Psalm 58 NASB)
Our generation was so idealistic – but we failed.
we talk of failing, forgetting what the Word tells us… we can do the good deeds mentioned by London – and we will – but we don’t control history
Jean’s Psalm posted above should remind us that it not wrong to hate, but we need to watch what it is we’re hating, who we’re blaming…
sometimes, (IMX) i think God repays evil speedily, but in His wisdom and in His time He “judges the earth.” in the meantime we can pray for repentance, eh? Hebrews 10:30-31
I weep for Manchester and the innocents on all sides, lament the calls and acts to violence by radicals east, west, right & left. I really needed London’s reminder today. I realize more than ever that Jesus’ words in Matt 5:43-48 are truly hard sayings.
As a father, and more importantly as a Christian, this is hard for me.
I and the kids were exiting the local 7-11 the other day. A guy walked out, angry at the clerk. I’m a big guy, intimidating, and we live in the “not quite hood.” I project a presence, and respectfully nod to other “hoodlums” as they do to me.
My 7 year old son commented, as the guy was walking away, “why is that guy so angry?” The guy heard it, took a brief pause, but kept walking.
All sorts of scenarios went through my head. What if he came back to challenge us? Should I play the meek peacemaker Christian? I would have to start, certainly. What if he went after my kids? Would I be tempting God to step back, or would I protect with my God-given traits as a father? If I stepped back, would I have been violating The Law in order to respect tradition in order to feel better about myself as a pacifist, while refusing to protect the innocent?
I’m confident about my peace making skills. Two years ago, I stepped in between two homeless people about ready to throw down during a homeless outreach. The fight was averted. I was kind, yet firm. Only one of them was the primary aggressor, and he tried to challenge me earlier, in a way which led me to believe he might have been possessed. I had de-escalated that indecent by being meek… while also thinking what Jackie Chan might do if he decided to attack me.
All in all, I think that what individuals do in these situations is vastly different then what nation-states do. Different roles. Different responsibilities.
“All in all, I think that what individuals do in these situations is vastly different then what nation-states do. Different roles. Different responsibilities.” amen – wise observation
i think that protecting one’s child from being hurt – no matter the cause – is always what God expects of us – course if that child is a big strapping 17 year old boy in a fist fight with another big strapping boy…? hmmm, there’s always something to ponder… 🙂
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“love our enemies,” yes, the Word is pretty clear on that point – amen to the prayer @ 11 – even though it took me some years to come to doing so with sincerity, it is one all of us should pray in some form daily but…
if our enemy is in the process of trying to kill us – not for our faith, but simply for their own agenda – do we just submit and love them as we go down? as i ask this of myself, i think the answer is no…
So what about the proposition that as the church we love and offer healing to both the victims and the victimizers, and…
as the government (not necessarily ours because we take too much heat) they bomb the hell out of them?
So I was up late last night…too late.
I was reading the thoughts of a bunch of people who have decided that either we “repatriate” all the Muslims or face the fact that at some point armed citizens will take the matter into their own hands.
The word “genocide” was flying all over Twitter…
There are people aching for a bloodbath because they believe we will be victims of one if we don’t act.
We don’t wrestle with the difficulty of us very well or often…if my child was threatened or,(God forbid), killed I would lose what little of my mind I have left…and I would want to respond with violence.
As a nation, we’ve been doing that for a long time…it doesn’t seem to have made a dent.
“As a nation, we’ve been doing that for a long time…it doesn’t seem to have made a dent.”
Considering we are the great satan to all of our Middle East enemies, I think we have done a great job with our responses to keep the terrorism in the US down to a minimum.
That poses two questions…
Why are we the Great satan to the Middle East…and are we safer because we bomb a lot of people or because we use a lot of policy and intelligence to keep terrorists out?
We forget very quickly.
When I lived in the UK, my wife and I would often spend Christmas in London rather than flying home. Each time I would call to check the terror alert for IRA bombings expected that year…
While the bombings were done by the predominately Roman Catholic IRA and the conflict in Northern Ireland was sectarian, the bombing were condemned by both the Church hierarchy and 99% of the laity. There was no call for suspecting every Roman Catholic (or conversely in Norther Ireland, the predominately Protestant UDF), much less for mass incarceration.
I know, however, this “feels” different. Is it the strangeness of Islam to most westerners? Is it that the perpetrators are “foreign”, even though most are born in the UK, the USA or France? I’m not sure.
The blood and carnage in London and the streets of Belfast were no less real. Children died in those bombings as well. Yet, the bloodshed in that situation was allowed to go on for decades.
Not sure I have any answers, but the questions keep accumulating in my mind.
I am all for pinpointing ISIS targets and not just the general Muslim population.
But no response, I do not find that to be acceptable. It wouldbe like no police reaction in Ferguson. You know “well the rioters / protestors are mad at the cops, so we will not have the cops respond.
You make a good point. Particularly in America, we are very picky about which murders are unacceptable, which ones are the collateral damage of liberty, and which ones are just one group of no-goods killing their own.
Writing to Christians, Paul said:
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'”
Then, in the very next chapter, Paul wrote:
“For he [the governing authority] is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
Therefore, it is not only their responsibility, but God’s will, that the British government hold anyone and everyone involved in that massacre accountable and brought to justice, using the power of the sword. The lives of innocents were taken, which should be avenged.
On a separate track, underlying causes and efforts at reconciliation should be engaged. But not in substitution for bringing the perpetrators of the massacre to justice.
Jean @ 21…
I think that is as close to correct as we’re going to get…
Well if we are going to look at the underlying cause, why don’t we (the world community) negotiate giving Israel back and moving the Jews back to their home countries (New York City and Miami Beach 😉 )
The point of my #23 – Peace in the Middle East and $1.50 gasoline.
Do you think this is all about Israel?
One of my Israeli friends is part of a family that was kicked out of Iraq. That was their family’s home for 2500 years. Her family will have nowhere to go back to. Israel is certainly a thorn, but not the main cause. Why not move the Arabs back to the Arabian peninsula and give back North Africa to Africans?
And what’s going on in The Philippines now? Nothing good at all. What did the Filipinos do to deserve what’s happening (well, what’s been happening there for hundreds of years)? Take away the Great and Little Satans, and all of the other targets become more clear. Look back at the last 600 years. Hindu genocides? Appalling.
Our bumbling certainly contributes to being targeted, but we are just the most significant excuses to justify bloodshed, slavery, rape and oppression, as if humans ever needed such excuses to be evil.
“Do you think this is all about Israel?”
No, but it began there and it festers there. As the generations pass down it becomes Israel is the enemy of Islam and the US is the one propping up this nation.
I would say the issues is within the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon — ooops, Israel
I was making a point based on Jean’s statement “On a separate track, underlying causes and efforts at reconciliation should be engaged. ”
I offered up an underlying cause – and the history of my lifetime bears this out … the middle east was relatively calm before Israel was created.
But others question this, and there may be 100 underlying causes. So how would you work on that?. The real underlying cause? Sin & Evil.
But if I see someone coming into a venue with a backpack of explosives – I don’t give a crap about underlying causes – if it’s up to me he gets a bullet in his forehead.
Michael and Duane,
I would also love your input and that of others on this:
Obama had a vision that if economic opportunity and individual rights could be brought to the poor in the Middle Eastern Muslim world, the terrorists would be deprived of a fertile recruiting population. However, his policy also weakened many of the governments, creating chaos and safe havens for terrorists to exist and spread locally. Although, one often cannot judge a policy’s effectiveness over a relatively short period of time, there is no evidence that Obama’s policy was effective in reducing terror. It appears to have been a failure.
Trump, on the other hand, is reverting to a more traditional policy of support for authoritarian governments with the expectation that they will root out terrorism and restore order. These policies will be bad for local human rights, but may help the governments stay in power and may also provide Western countries with more security in the short term, by alleviating forced migrations and preventing terrorist safe havens. On the other hand, this strategy does nothing to address root causes. The 9-11 terrorist attacks took place under this older policy paradigm.
One unanswered question, is: What should America do about its military presence and combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. We are being bled in both American lives and treasure by a thousand cuts and I don’t know if anyone actually sees an end to these commitments. By our presence their, we are seen as propping up governments who oppress their people, perpetuating anti-American sentiment among Muslim populations.
Unmitigated violence, with or without a cause is still violence. Children still die. Lives are cut short. In our country:
Between 1968 and 2011, 1.4 million died from arbitrary gun violence.
In 2015 13,286 people were killed using guns (excluding suicide).
This is also terrorism, but we accept it as a society.
Michael…this is a week of lots of celebration for us. Hockey teams winning, children turning 16, summer beginning. I have had a difficult time balancing all of this with this event. Thankful for your writing…thankful for the few words of hope in the midst of it all (like the woman who gathered up 50 children and took them to a hotel to protect them and find their parents).
Praying. That is what I am left to do. Praying for grace and for mercy. Rejoicing with my children in their happiness and yet holding these others near in memory and thoughts at the same time. Realizing the balance we live in the world with wonder / joy / hope alongside the brutal reality of evil and brokenness.
I think prayer, and action in whatever way we can find, is the way we survive that balance. We are able to still hold the joy in the good around us, the hope in the Gospel and a Creator who conquered death, while grieving with those caught in deep suffering and sorrow.
Thank you, Sarah…well said as always.
A question like that is way above my pay-grade…
My personal opinion is that the Iraqi invasion was an unjust war by almost any standard – theological or political.
Officers (most of them field rank or higher) whom I know who have fought in Afghanistan tell me it is not a war that can be won, even though we had cause to invade.
We propped up the apartheid government in South Africa for decades because we were warned of a bloodbath if black South Africans took over. That did not happen, but it is less than a successful nation state at present. I point this out simply to say that I’m not sure of the “cause and effect” view of history. In the main, I would hope we would exercise our power in the world with a view toward justice and human rights as the end result, simply because it is the right thing to do.
How I wish I had the wisdom to answer your questions well.
I remember a few years ago that a number of books came out detailing how offended the Muslim nations are with the exporting of our cultural values to their countries.
This was cited as one of the motivations for their contempt of us.
It has always seemed to me that our involvement over there was about oil and economics, rather than concepts of liberty.
That is probably quite simplistic…but to the degree that it is true I would have us bringing our resources and young lives home to build a better place here.
“I offered up an underlying cause – and the history of my lifetime bears this out … the middle east was relatively calm before Israel was created.”
The Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians would take exception to that, among many others.
Victor – I may be old, but the “history of my lifetime” doesn’t go back THAT far.;-)
I am anti war (not to be confused with a pacifist) – I would be for bringing all of our troops home – from everywhere.
But we must ask why there was immediate war when the Jews invaded the Middle East and took over Palestine?
somebody save me some google time, please… the diaspora of 2,000 years ago – did the Romans literally drive the Jews out of Israel – or was it Judah? – did the Jews flee persecutions (yes, i know about Masada ) or were they forced out of their homeland at spear-point?
did the world of that time call those two kingdoms ‘Palestine?’ was Israel (and Judah) only the designations by which the areas were known among the Jews?
i live on the North American continent in an area referred to today as the United States was that the case back then? A Jew lived in Palestine in an area referred to as either Judah or Israel?
where is Xenia when i need her 🙂
Not sure where to post this, but I spent two hours today talking on the phone with a friend of almost 40 years. Professional ruin, divorce and financial disaster are looming and he is in a near suicidal state… Please pray for my old friend. Cannot share his name, but God knows.
Praying right now, Duane.
hope this is on the prayer thread, Dr. Arnold – headed there now and praying, may your friendship bring him just what he needs to think clearly again
I don’t mind praying as an also ran, having been there myself sometimes. Interceeding now.
Prayed, Arnold. Tough stuff. I went through it as a teen, and decades later given the dissolution after the kids’ mom left (actually, in the relationship towards the end as well) I deal with this from time to time in an online support group for people in abusive family relationships. A good, first step could be encouraging him to call a local hotline. Stress that the call is anonymous, and that it is just another live (and safe) voice to talk to. No one needs to suffer alone.
This protocol was developed by talking with directors of national suicide hotlines. I hope something here can help (and this is for anyone).
Take it seriously.
Myth: “The people who talk about it don’t do it.” Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs immediate attention.
Myth: “Anyone who tries to kill himself has got to be crazy.” Perhaps 10% of all suicidal people are psychotic or have delusional beliefs about reality. Most suicidal people suffer from the recognized mental illness of depression; but many depressed people adequately manage their daily affairs. The absence of “craziness” does not mean the absence of suicide risk.
“Those problems weren’t enough to commit suicide over,” is often said by people who knew a completed suicide. You cannot assume that because you feel something is not worth being suicidal about, that the person you are with feels the same way. It is not how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it.
2. Remember: suicidal behavior is a cry for help.
Myth: “If a someone is going to kill himself, nothing can stop him.” The fact that a person is still alive is sufficient proof that part of him wants to remain alive. The suicidal person is ambivalent – part of him wants to live and part of him wants not so much death as he wants the pain to end. It is the part that wants to live that tells another “I feel suicidal.” If a suicidal person turns to you it is likely that he believes that you are more caring, more informed about coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect his confidentiality. No matter how negative the manner and content of his talk, he is doing a positive thing and has a positive view of you.
3. Be willing to give and get help sooner rather than later.
Suicide prevention is not a last minute activity. All textbooks on depression say it should be reached as soon as possible. Unfortunately, suicidal people are afraid that trying to get help may bring them more pain: being told they are stupid, foolish, sinful, or manipulative; rejection; punishment; suspension from school or job; written records of their condition; or involuntary commitment. You need to do everything you can to reduce pain, rather than increase or prolong it. Constructively involving yourself on the side of life as early as possible will reduce the risk of suicide.
Give the person every opportunity to unburden his troubles and ventilate his feelings. You don’t need to say much and there are no magic words. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it. Give him relief from being alone with his pain; let him know you are glad he turned to you. Patience, sympathy, acceptance. Avoid arguments and advice giving.
5. ASK: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
Myth: “Talking about it may give someone the idea.” People already have the idea; suicide is constantly in the news media. If you ask a despairing person this question you are doing a good thing for them: you are showing him that you care about him, that you take him seriously, and that you are willing to let him share his pain with you. You are giving him further opportunity to discharge pent up and painful feelings. If the person is having thoughts of suicide, find out how far along his ideation has progressed.
6. If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him alone.
If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave them alone – drive the person to the nearest emergency department or other service facility. They may be hesitant – that is normal. The local suicide hotlines can advise you of the best facility.
If the situation is life threatening, or the person refuses to go for care, or you are unable to transport them, call 911.
Please do not use emergency medical services to teach anyone a lesson.
If the means to commit suicide are present, try to get rid of them.
7. Urge professional help.
If someone is acting suicidal or talking of suicide, it is vitally important to get them into professional care at the first signs. Like many disorders, early detection and treatment yields better outcomes. Persistence and patience may be needed to seek, engage and continue with as many options as possible. In any referral situation, let the person know you care and want to maintain contact.
8. From crisis to recovery.
Most people have suicidal thoughts or feelings at some point in their lives; yet less than 2% of all deaths are suicides. Nearly all suicidal people suffer from conditions that will pass with time or with the assistance of a recovery program. There are hundreds of modest steps we can take to improve our response to the suicidal and to make it easier for them to seek help. Taking these modest steps can save many lives and reduce a great deal of human suffering.
Thanks all for your prayers… It was a long (i.e. short on sleep) night. Hopefully we can move this beyond “crisis” today…
Perhaps they’re just sick and tired of being murdered…
Praying for your friend, Duane…
New Victor – thank you for #45 – i have a neighbor in crisis right now and i’m not sure what direction that person will go, so i’m copying the list
Xenia is on a roll 🙂
Poops wrong thread.