Summary: This message focuses on how we choose to hate and justify it by thinking God approves of it.
Hating In The Name Of God
Ten years ago on this day I left my home early in the morning to drive to Wichita, KS. When I came through Emporia, I called a friend at her job to chat. When she was not at work, I called her at home thinking she might have been sick. She told me that she was not at work because she was watching the news. She told me there had been an explosion at the World Trade Center and that it could have been a plane. The time was 9:00 a.m. As she told me what was happening, a few minutes later she said, “Oh my God, another plane just flew into the second tower!” At that moment we both realized what was happening, that our nation was under attack. When I arrive at my hotel almost an hour later, I was watching the TV in the hotel lobby with a group of other travelers. It was being reported that it was a terrorist attack and there had been more than one plane involved with more targets than just the World Trade Center. As I stood in the lobby, I watch in horror as the first tower fell, the time was 9:59 a.m. Shortly thereafter the news flashed about another plane crashing in an open field. About twenty minutes after that the second tower fell at 10:28 a.m. Eastern time. On September 11, 2001 our world changed forever and most adults know exactly where they were when those plane hit the towers. The total number of individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 was 2,995. In the ten years following the attacks approximately 236,500 people have died because of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Of this total, 6,226 were U.S. military personnel; 2,300 were U.S. contractors and 279 were humanitarian workers and these numbers will continue to grow. When will this stop?
On the day that it happened and whenever I see the footage, I think about those who died and those who tried to help. I think about the people who were on the floors above where the planes hit who knew based on what happened below them they would not make it out. I think about those who jumped to their deaths versus burning alive and wonder how those who think someone who commits suicide immediately goes to hell would rationalize their actions. I think about all the people who left home that morning with plans of things they were going to do that day and the days following not realizing that this would be their last day on earth. I think about the families of those who died, who got up that morning, said goodbye to their loved ones for the last time without knowing it. I think about the kids who were born after their fathers died and will never know them personally. I think about the unknown heroes who gave their lives so that others could live. Those who had a hand in stopping some of the terrorists at the cost of their own life. Those who tried to help their fellow man even though they did not know them.
Finally I think about the hate: the hatred in the name of God that drove these individuals to do what they did and I ask myself the question, “Am I just like them?” I have titled this message “Hating in the Name of God” and I hope that this message will cause you to reflect on your inner thoughts as it relates to hate. I will continue with my message on faith next week.
I. Hating My Brother
After 9/11, the general consensus in the U.S. was that Osama Bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, deserved to be hated for what he did. Until the attacks on 9/11, many U.S. citizens hadn’t even heard his name although he had been killing people through terrorist attacks in other countries for years. It was not until it hit us at home that we came out of our slumber and understood what other countries had known for years; that no one is safe against a terrorist attacks. So he became the focal point of our hatred. But it was not enough to hate him; we had to hate all Muslims, regardless of their stance on terrorist’s activities. Even though there were Muslims at ground zero trying to help rescue victims, they were still seen as the enemy. People had neighbors who they had known for years all of a sudden become a target of hate because of their race and/or religion. And what is so scary is that all of this hatred was in the name of God. The worst hatred in the world is that which has been deemed approved of by God. As long as God approves of my hatred then I am free to act on that hatred as my heart desires. But is this true? Listen to the words of our Savior as it pertains to this subject.