Summary: This past week we learned what people are capable of…and we know why. The ultimate enemy is sin. As we try to recover from the shock of the most horrific terrorist attack in history, there’s a crying, desperate need to make some sense of what’s happened
This past week we learned what people are capable of…and we know why. The ultimate enemy is sin. As we try to recover from the shock of the most horrific terrorist attack in history, there’s a crying, desperate need to make some sense of what’s happened.
I want to emphasize that, while politically motivated, this is a spiritual problem. This is evil at work. Our enemies have applauded the destruction and loss of life, but I cannot stress enough that this is not simply an ideological act. It is the result of sin. This horrendous act of terrorism proves that we live in a fallen world in need of redemption.
The last time you committed some sin, if you thought about it afterwards, you realized that God allowed you to rebel, to disobey Him. I think God allows horrendous acts to convince us that we have an innate problem, a cancer within. We think that with enough medical advances, with a strong economy, with a secure military, we can produce heaven on earth. There can be no heaven on earth while there is sin within us.
Sometimes I talk with good people who can’t imagine why evil persists. They tell me, “If everyone were like me, there would be no wars, no terrorism.” And I agree…but not everyone is like the decent people we see every day.
People are comparing this to Pearl Harbor. I saw the movie, which tried to downplay the evil behind the attack. In the movie a sailor turns to his Admiral and congratulates him for his wisdom. He replies, “If I were truly wise I would have found a way to avoid this action.” We know that such acts are the result of pure hate.
As your minister, I have to tell you the truth. These unspeakable things happen because people are evil. All acts of violence we read of, the small and large, are not simply because of poor education. It is because people reject the Truth. We’ve been taught the Golden Rule. We know right from wrong. And we know that people reject love and embrace hate. Many people do not share our Biblical values. This is why Christ came—to die for sinners, to offer a better Way.
The attacks on New York and the Pentagon have been described as “unprecedented.” But not surprising. People are capable of this, and worse. After the horror of WWII and the Nazi holocaust, we have tried to convince ourselves that atrocities cannot occur. That is a denial of human nature. In Dacchau there is a sign that reads, “Never Again”. Yet evil will continue.
After the events of last week, people may think that God is dead. What we learn from the events of this horrific magnitude is that we are dead…we’re dead spiritually. We have free will, a gift and a curse. God is telling us that we can do His will, and if not, we do what we want.
I am not surprised, but I am sickened. I would also like to think that this is a good world, that things are getting better, that people are capable of getting along, of loving one another. Those notions are destroyed time and time again, as we are freshly reminded just how wicked humankind can be.
We sometimes use the word “insanity” to describe these events. An insane person is not responsible for his or her actions. When actions go beyond reason, we are tempted to deny that normal people can do such things. It’s just not so. The individuals who perpetrated this well-thought out series of attacks were not crazy. They were evil.