Saturday, April 20, 2013

They raised their hand against everyone and everyone's hand was raised against them

This evening the second of two men who appear to be responsible for bombs that ripped apart innocent people at the Boston Marathon, we are told, has been captured alive. The first suspect was shot dead as he attempted a violent escape earlier today.

Like most people, when I saw the news reports from Boston and the live shots showing a bloody sidewalk, people missing limbs, and pathetic chaos, I was angry. My thoughts first went to justice and making the perpetrators pay.  I wondered if it was an act of Islamic terrorism.  I wondered if it was some domestic Timothy McVeigh like crazy person.  Whoever it turned out to be, I wanted them to die.

The death toll turned out to be three with close to 200 people injured, many of whom lost limbs or suffered serious damage to them.  In the manhunt today, another person died- a security guard at MIT.  Many lives have been radically altered and made so much more difficult because of the decisions and actions of these two young men.  Such a hateful, cowardly act.

When there are mass shootings, massacres, bombings, and other announcements of some crisis situation going on with a shooter or violent person loose, I never think- I wonder who she is?

As it relates to serial killers, terrorists, organizers of violent hate- how many are women? We men have fallen so far from God's calling for us in this world.

When the pictures of these two young brothers were broadcasted, my heart sunk. The younger boy, the one still alive, is only a few years older than my son.  There he was, casually walking with his hat backwards- with a weapon of mass destruction on his back, intent on mayhem.  What hatred has filled his heart at such a young age! What is so difficult about his life, that he thinks death and destruction poured out on others-including young children- is a worthy legacy to leave?  These two brothers made homemade bombs to do their evil deeds.  With personal, particular care, they packed common kitchen pots with nails and bb's.  Have you considered how conscientious they were in their planning? This wasn't a violent act done in a moment of fury or ill temper.  Quite calmly they must have looked up instructions about making such a bomb, and with great sobriety went about piecing the devices together.  When a person makes another person a meal, we call it a "labor of love".  When these men made their bombs, it was a "labor of vicious hatred".  The level of vitriol and rage that must have burned in their souls is difficult to comprehend, even for someone as wicked as I.  In my overt judgment of these two men, please understand my own self evaluation and acknowledgement of a personal capacity to do something as evil, save for the grace of God. I believe any person is capable of any evil deed, I really do.  Still, when things as calculated as the bombing we just saw or the Sandy Hook shooting or the Arizona theater massacre happen, it does set me back. The depravity of man and the distance it will take us really does rock me.

Really though, it is almost always men who do these things.  The entrance of sin in to the human race rendered spectacular violence to the image of God in men. The Genesis account of man's rebellion is no myth, certainly you know this?  People aren't generally or basically good- we have to stop propagating that lie. What limit does our evil have without the restraining grace of God?  These boys could be my sons, indeed, they could be yours.  Please Lord Jesus, intervene in all of our families.  We truly need Christ every hour, and in every member of our family's life.  I am very glad one of the terrorists is dead and the other has been captured, but I am also reasonably depressed about another instance of men exacting such hateful destruction.  Things aren't the way they're supposed to be my friends.  Such episodes should drive us all to Christ. He is our only hope for redemption.

It really is incredible the kind of havoc young men can reek. Men are called to be protectors, leaders, servants, and submitted to Christ. To see these two young men in Boston choose to destroy rather than cultivate grieves me. As a father of sons and a mentor of young men, seeing these terrorists go the way of Ishmael (Genesis 16:12) makes me shudder. May God give peace, through Christ, to their victims. May God give us assisting grace to raise up men who love and serve rather than hate and kill.

"He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” -Genesis 16:12


Paul Schmidt said...

Tony -

Here is another thought...What is the correlation with abortion, Gay Marriage, and this act of terrorism?

It centers on men.
- It reveals the devaluing of human life.
- The destruction institutions that bring stability and order to our society.
- Women and children have lower place to men.
- Finally, that males are given the ability to shirk their responsibilities and live without consequence.

Adam said...

I agree that men are usually the drivers behind these events, falling incredibly short of what God has planned for us. As CS Lewis says 'we're playing with a stick in the mud when we could be enjoying a day at the beach'. It's sad to see men not step up be protectors of the 'widow, orphan, or foreigner' as the OT says; or even protect those who are in need. These men do the exact opposite by taking advantage of the opportunity hurting such people.

You say that "People aren't generally or basically good- we have stop propagating that lie. What limit does our evil have without the restraining grace of God? These boys could be my sons, indeed, they could be yours." and I agree; this is evidence for the depravity of man.

However, I will say, that while men cannot control their sons, they can influence them. Of course with Holy Spirit working too. Thinking about Genesis, I think to Genesis 4, where Moses writes in Genesis how Lamech coming from the line of Cain -- sings about killing a man and a boy rejoicing in death (Gen. 4:23). One line of evil men begets and teaches others to commit evil as well. To make a stark contrast, Adam's other son Seth has Enosh in his family line (Gen 4:25) in which people began at that time to "call on the name of the Lord". Enoch would even come from this line.

My point is, that all men who teach their sons, who influence others, who live faithfully to the Lord can have an influence on those around us, through the grace of God. May we pray that through Christ, men would again call on the name of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

While hatred was clearly present in their hearts, the problem with men like these is more theological than anything else. They were most likely motivated by their false religious beliefs derived from the Koran, as every other Islamic terrorist has been. They believed they were carrying out a good deed in obedience to God. Their "hatred" of us is viewed as a righteous hatred against the enemies of Allah. And if the Koran were true, it could be argued that they were indeed carrying out a righteous act -- they were executing God's vengeance on a godless society. Did not God command His ancient people, Israel, to commit even more severe acts in His name (e.g., the Canaanites)? Were the Israelites committing evil when they obeyed? Obviously not.

So what makes these acts of terrorism genuinely evil is that the one true God didn't command them to do it. Allah is a false god. The Koran is false scripture. They are carrying out the doctrines of demons. The one true God has commanded His followers during this age to spread the gospel in peace and wait for the final day when He Himself will execute vengeance on His enemies -- "for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord" (Romans 12:19). Thus, the real problem is young men (and women) who believe and follow the teachings of the Koran. Violence and terrorism will inevitably follow, as it has throughout history...

Woody Woodward said...

I think Theophily made a profound statement of truth spoken in His love. While Cheri and I were driving to Florida we listened to FOX News on our OnStar for hours on end. With all the madness from the media trying to guess??? what was going on in their sick and twisted minds, and every freedom loving American seeking vengeance for those guilty, the only thing believers can be sure of is God is still on His Throne and He will have the final say in their final judgment. But I think the patriotic catch phrase of “Boston Strong” will be a great reminder for all of us….. terrorism is taken a new and more ugly and diabolical turn of reality for all of us.