Summary: There is too much violence and God is mad about it but we need to take a close look at our own hearts and respond with the hope of the Gospel.
A Response to the Carnage and Human Suffering
Tonight, we are stunned as board members of PBC! -Shortly before 9am, first plane crashes into one of the towers.
- Shortly after 9 am, second plane crashes into second tower
-40 minutes after the New York attacks, another aircraft crashes into the
-Shortly after 10am the south Tower collapses
-Also around 10am, plane crashes in western Pennsylvania
-10:28 am, second Tower collapses
-Shortly after 1pm, President Bush vows to due "Whatever is necessary."
-Later that afternoon the evacuated Tower #7 collapses.
And it is easy to get mad, get mad at God for not stopping the carnage in Washington and in New York where thousands died in terrorist suicide attacks at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Get mad at people perhaps the US intelligence agency for not being able to detect these attacks earlier, get mad at the people that planned the attack, who performed the dastardly deed, get mad at the PLO, Bin Ladin types. Perhaps tonight the feelings of security of US and Canada are threatened, who knows go to work and can end up dead, blown to pieces. Tonight some may be calling for the US to nuke whoever is responsible. And if it is Afghanistan, let’s crush them. Crush the enemies, seek and destroy! Tonight, we must gain some perspective to live on and through the tragedies.
1. God is angry at sin. Rom.1:18 (NKJV)
“For the WRATH of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” He is angry at the carnage, the horrible lost of lives.
The ones who committed the horrible act will claimed to be wise, saying now the Americans will know how we suffer, just as God’s word says in Rom.1:22 (NRSV) “Claiming to be wise, they became fools”
Rom.1:29-32 further gives a description of the foolishness of people.
29being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, MURDER, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30backbiters, haters of God VIOLENT, PROUD, BOASTERS, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31undiscerning, untrustworthy, UNLOVING UNFORGIVING, unmerciful; 32who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also APPROVE of those who practice them.
Yes, we say God is right at being angry at sin… yes, those murderers, violent, proud boasters, no-love, unforgiving and celebrating the carnage! We thank God he notices the evil that’s done in the world. God is angry at them.
2. God is angry at us. Rom.3:9,1015-17 (NRSV)
“What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; … Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.’”
Time to wake up from complacency… every time we point a finger at others, there are at least 3 more than points back at you. We are not any more sinful than the rest of humanity. We need a real revival and confess our faults. We have failed at bringing and teaching peace and reconciliation, so the world is now embroiled in violence. We feel horrified perhaps at the sin and evil that is displayed on the tv as we see the plane crash into the Twin Towers, but can we really see that God is also horrified by our own sins and self-righteousness. Do we mourn for our own sins as well, or do we point fingers and say we’re better than them? God’s word tells: "There is no one righteous, not not one!" We need to see the sorrow and mourning over the ruin and rubble as a reflection of our lives as well, there is ruin and rubble of sin in us.
3. God is merciful. Lk.15:1-10
In the midst of suffering and sin and evil, we need to remember, yes God is angry and angry at sin. He is full of mercy and would just love it if when we would repent and be saved from His wrath.Praise God! This where our comfort lies!
The stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin illustrate to us God’s mercy and God’s joy in saving us. God wants to saved. It makes the Pharisee grumble and get mad. But that’s Jesus’ nature…
Illus: The Ungrateful Scorpion
Henri Nouwen told a parable about an old man who used to meditate each day be the Ganges River in India. One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain. Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the mediator, "Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?" The old man calmly replied, "My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save." It is in God’s nature to save - because it is in God’s nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair. It is what God does.