Summary: Coming to terms with September 11, 2001.

How To Respond To Tragedy

Matthew 5:38-48

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

We witnessed the darkest hour and the brightest day.

I. The Darkest Hour

A. An Attack

1. It was an attack upon our INNOCENCE

-a break of trust

2. It was an attack upon our DIGNITY

3. It was an attack upon our SOVEREIGNTY

4. It was an attack upon our CHARACTER

B. Such evil has the capacity to diminish the love of Christ in our


Our initial response is DISBELIEF

-leads to FEAR

-leads to ANGER -HATRED

-leads to PREJUDICE


II. The Challenge of Christ

Love our enemy

-pray for them

-turn the other cheek

-give them the shirt off of your back

But, we cry, "Not me Lord. You don’t understand what I am going through!"

Christ spoke these words in the midst of a Roman occupation

-He prophesied that Judaism would be rocked to its core

-the temple would be destroyed

III. The Resources of God

A. Protection & Provision

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4 (RSV)

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult." Psalm 46:1-3 (RSV)

B. Compassion

"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love...If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen." I John 4:7-8,20 (RSV)

C. Example

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (RSV)

"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." I Peter 2:21-25 (RSV)

D. Command

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:17-18 (RSV)

"The Good Samaritan"

"Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled" Hebrews 12:14-15 (RSV)

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:14-21 (RSV)

"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48 (RSV)

IV. The Brightest Day

Rescuers demonstrated Bravery

President demonstrated Restraint

Church Leaders demonstrated Compassion

I Can’t give reason to why this happened.

It can make us bitter, or better

St. Francis Of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

where there is injury, pardon,

where there is doubt, faith,

where there is despair, hope,

where there is darkness, light,

where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console,

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