Here I am, sitting at my computer, trying to provide a pastoral response and perspective to the mindless bombing at the Boston Marathon. It’s tough – trying to craft this post – when I myself have so many questions running through my head:
Why would anyone stoop so low to do something like this? Why did security not detect anything? Did they not learn anything from 9/11 or have we forgotten that all too quickly? Why should an eight-year old lose his life when he was only there to cheer runners crossing the finish line? Why? Why? Why?
Like I said, it’s tough. I could try to sound theological or philosophical but that’s not going to help at all. And yet, without such a foundation, one can be easily tossed towards dismay and discouragement that we live in such a terrible world. That said, any answer will only be met by another question begging for a more satisfactory explanation. It just won’t end. As such, it’s best to steer clear away from such an exercise.
So what am I feeling right now? And how will I respond to unfolding news reports that provide more and more details of the bombing?
I am grieving with those who are grieving. Yes. My heart is breaking for those who have lost lives, lost limbs, lost loved ones and friends. Each time I read a Facebook post or a tweet, each time I watch the news, my heart aches. Across the next few days (or weeks), that’s how it’s going to be. And all I can do is to lift up a prayer for all affected in one way or another.
I am angry with sin. Very possibly, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Who’s responsible for the bombing?” Whoever it is, whichever agency, I am clear about one thing – it’s sin. You can try to pin the blame on someone, but the reality is that humanity is depraved because of sin. And the Bible is so clear that the fruit or result of sin is death. Just look around – why do we need an explosion to be awoken to the presence and power of sin?! Whilst I utterly detest the cowardly works of such acts of terrorism, I know it’s pointless being angry with these who are merely deceived and being used as instruments of sin. It’s not whether one is educated or uneducated, rich or poor, it’s sin! And it irks me big time!
I am thankful for salvation through Jesus. I may not go around blowing people or myself up, but I fully acknowledge that I too was born in sin. And because of that, I have every capacity to be a terrorist too. Who knows? I may have already blown a few people away with my pride, hypocrisy and insensitivity! That’s why I am so thankful for salvation from sin, and its curse, through the work of Jesus on the Cross. To this end, everyone who has suffered the devastating effects of sin resulting in physical death, if these know Jesus as Saviour, it is not the end for them. In Him, they have eternal life and they are safe in the arms of Jesus now.
My friends, these may not be the answers you are looking for. Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t trying to provide any. These are my personal ramblings, getting thoughts off my chest and aligning my own perspectives with what I understand from my journey with Jesus. For sure, bombings like these make absolutely no sense at all. Don’t try to get into the sinful minds of the bombers for you may just end up making excuses for them. Instead, feel free to grieve, it’s good for you. Sure, be angry, but make sure it’s rightly directed at sin. And as a believer in Jesus Christ, rejoice in the hope that we have in Him, and be thankful for those who have entered fully into salvation through Him and Him alone.