Two different terrorist groups “claimed responsibility” this week for two different attacks that killed nearly 100 people and wounded 400 more. IS “claimed responsibility” for the bombings at an airport and metro station in Belgium and the Taliban “claimed responsibility” for the attack at a park and playground in Pakistan. But, neither should claim responsibility at all.
If these terrorists were truly responsible, then they would care for the wounded, bury the dead, and repair the damages brought about by their attacks. But, of course, they won’t do that. Because they are irresponsible. They are brutal, destructive, irresponsible thugs who want murder and mayhem and as much pain as they can inflict on others. They reveal the darkest, most vicious, careless, and broken parts of humanity, reminding us of what we are capable and of how closely evil thoughts and actions live to our hearts. Terrorists show us what we should never be, what we should fight with all of our might from ever becoming.
I want to always remember that I am, first and foremost, a physical and spiritual creature who has been loved into being by God. This is what every human being is and should be treated as such. The other things like my race, ethnic background, culture, and nationality are always less important. I believe that all human beings are my neighbors whom God wants me to love as my own self, no matter whether they are like me or not.
Being deformed and wheelchair-bound, I know what it’s like to be singled out as different in a negative way. Perhaps, that’s why prejudice and hate for “others” has always bothered me so deeply. Each of us is unique and different from each other in some regard. But, we are all the same in the singular most important regard, which we must never forget and always hold as profoundly precious: we are all equally loved by God and precious to God. And, so, not only am I saddened by the brutal deaths and sympathetically grieve for the people who were killed by terrorists – but I am also saddened and grieving for my fellow human beings who gave in to darkness and allowed themselves to commit such evil.
Yes, I know, it’s difficult to feel anything but disgust for the terrorists. These people chose to become irresponsible thugs who viciously killed men, women, and children – the families in Lahore were celebrating Easter Sunday in harmony and joy. It’s hard to think of anything more despicable. Yes, these terrorists have made themselves our enemies –
But, I believe, as Christ taught, that we are to pray for our enemies – and even to love them.
Yup. It’s clearly in the Bible.
And, yet, many people who profess to be Christians are becoming filled with hateful suspicion for all Muslims. We cannot let hate consume us. We cannot forget Christian mercy and Christian love. With people of faith, all Faiths, we are more alike than unlike, and the vast majority of Muslims are grieving for their hijacked religion and deeply saddened, as we are, by so many deaths. Let’s join our prayers with these good people for peace. Let’s not give into our brokenness – which would divide us from our fellow human beings and, thereby, cause the darkness to win.
As Christians, we will defend the innocent and diligently strive to protect our fellow human beings from the evil acts and intentions of those who would harm them. That is right and just. And, as true Christians, we will also pray for those who seek to harm them – pray for our fellow human beings who have turned to violence and destruction, who have chosen to inflict pain and death, praying that God will forgive them, heal them, and restore them to their true selves.
So, united with people of faith everywhere, let us prayerfully lift up the suffering and pain of our brothers and sisters in Belgium and Pakistan and ask God to heal them, comfort them, and renew them in the fullness of life. And as Christians in particular, in order to live true Easter joy, let us not forget to pray for the irresponsible and the despicable, too:
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us…”
As an aside… I’ve noticed that, here in the United States, there has been much more news coverage of the attacks in Brussels than of the attacks in Lahore. Why, when more people were wounded and killed in Pakistan? I don’t know whether or not I should be ashamed of myself for the answer that came immediately to my mind: it’s because the people killed in Brussels were European and the people killed in the other attack were Pakistani. This does speak to me of a racial bias, which saddens, angers, and frustrates me. Perhaps I am wrong. I hope I am. But… let us really take a good look at ourselves and be aware of our own bias and prejudice. There is brokenness in our hearts, too, that needs to be healed if we are ever to have peace.
© 2016 Christina Chase
 Matthew 5:43-48
I don't call myself a poet — but the beating of my heart is poetry. I don't call myself a theologian — but the light of my mind seeks the Divine. Who I am is a Child of God, a Divine Creation, a person devoted to being fully human, fully alive.