eNews - September 14, 2019
Dear Family and Friends
Do you remember what things were like on September 10, 2001? We lived as a people who were vastly more innocent. We were able to meet our loved ones as they stepped off their plane and into the gate. We were able to make decisions based upon giving people the benefit of the doubt as opposed to looking at others with suspicion and fear. We lost our innocence as a people the very next day. Our country changed on 9/11 and that change continues to take on momentum. The change from innocence to awakening which is tinged with fear and suspicion is not a healthy change. But a change has occurred.
There are those of us who had family living in New York, working in the towers, who by Providence were spared or by the act of evil lived their last moments on that day. This is not a theoretical exercise in thinking back on that day and remembering the thousands of lives that were lost and the scars that were left which will never leave. Those scars are very present in the lives of individuals, but they remain especially visible in our nation. We have changed, we trust less, we love less, we fear more, we are more angry. The terrorists have won not because they took the lives of thousands, that wasn’t their ultimate goal, but rather because we have changed and become more like them, irrationally thinking that fear and retribution can somehow win.
Is it unpatriotic to quote Romans 12:14-21 and encourage the members of FPC to follow those verses especially in such a time as this? I can’t stress enough how important it is to read these verses and to take them to heart. You hear a portion of them every Sunday, look at vs.17 where we read Paul exhort us to: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.” That is the way you are sent off every Sunday morning. But can it apply here in a context where thousands of lives were lost? If we don’t repay evil with evil then evil will win. I tell you that the way things are going now evil is winning. If we don’t revert back to our understanding that Scripture is actually authoritative in all areas of our life, including public policy and political decisions, then evil will win.
How sappy it would be for me to quote I John 4:7-21 where we read that we have to love one another. That may apply in some cases but not this one, I hear the voices say. Yet I say that if you look at vs.18 this is what we have to strive after simply because we continue to live in fear. This Scripture tells us that if we want to live without fear then we have to focus on love. How sappy. But there is no other way. Love actually does win and can conquer evil. It is the only thing that has ever worked. It is what put Jesus on the cross and what raised him from the dead. Love conquers all. It is the only approach that will work for us as Christians and as a nation. If we want to live without fear then we have to live in love. There is no other way that will conquer evil.
I pray that as you remember the most tragic event in our nation’s history in the past two decades that you will reflect on how you have changed over these last 18 years. Have you become filled with more fear, or with more love?