Yesterday, April 15th 2013, will be remembered in infamy for an act of violence and cowardice at one of our country’s most beloved sporting events, The Boston Marathon. Most of you will have heard by now about the explosions and subsequent loss of life that occurred near the finish line of that great race. At times like these, many questions are sure to surface: Why? How could anyone be so cruel? Who is to blame? Cries for justice can be heard in the midst of the rubble and debris; but who will answer?
Last week, we concluded our series on the Apostle’s Creed with both a warning about judgment and a beautiful vision of renewal. In some ways, it was a difficult message to hear. However, as difficult as it seems, we cannot have one without the other. If we neglect God and his moral law then disaster is sure to follow.
There was a time such as this in the history of Israel where the book of Judges records that: “In those days, the people had no King; everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). When we come to a place when we think that we alone get to decide what is right and wrong, we are in danger of twisting the truth to our desires instead of conforming our desires to the truth. Then there will be no justice for the weak and no standard to lift up against terror and tyranny. In fact, if everyone simply did whatever they thought was right “for themselves” then there would be no way to even define good and evil because it would all be relative.
What happened yesterday was obviously evil, but the darkness of evil can only be vanquished in the light of the good. While some fled, many rushed in to offer help and comfort those that were wounded. As Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ to those hurting and need. Also, while we long for justice, and a swift and severe justice at that, we must guard against the root of bitterness and revenge. Vengeance is in the more competent hands of God alone (Romans 12:9). In the end, only good can thwart the advance of evil and we have been called to not return evil for evil but to overcome it with goodness (Romans 12:21).
As sad as it seems, events such as yesterday’s bombing are to be expected in light of a biblical view of the world. It reminds us that although we were made in the image of God, that sin has distorted and corrupted that image. We truly live in a fallen world; “enemy occupied territory” in the words of C.S. Lewis that I quoted Sunday. We may not be able to fully answer all the “why” questions, but we are called to be part of the solution. Have you answered that call to follow Christ’s “great campaign of sabotage”? Are you working with him to bring restoration and “make all things new”? First, take a look at yourself. You must allow Him to start there. If you trust Him, he has promised that you will become a “new creation” in him. (2 Cor. 5:17).