Tag Archives: terror

What If You Had Known?

If you knew, pulse terror attack

Islamist terrorist, Omar Mateen, is responsible for the deaths of 49 people and the wounding of 53, some of whom are still struggling for their lives in critical condition. The Orlando community and the families of victims are in our prayers. The shooting is one of the worst acts of terrorism in American history. Law enforcement is working hard to piece together the facts.

For now, the investigation is focusing, interestingly, on Omar’s wife, Noor. Why? Because investigators want to know what she knew and when she knew it. They believe, at the very least, that she was aware the attack would take place and did nothing to stop it. In fact, a federal grand jury will likely be convened to consider bringing charges.

In America, we have several laws that require us to say or do something when we think a crime may be committed. And those laws aren’t a new idea. As far back as the days of Moses, those who had foreknowledge of a crime or witnessed any aspect of a crime, were required to tell the authorities. And they were culpable, whether complicit or complacent.

For example, Leviticus 5:1 told the Israelites, “If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.” Certainly, the “if you see something, say something” world we live in today would require us all to let the authorities know if we are aware of an impending terrorist act.

But the New Testament principle reminds us of our greater responsibility. James writes, “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Knowing that mass murder of civilians is wrong shouldn’t take much thought. At the very least, regardless of radical Jihadist beliefs, one ought to know that murder is against the law!

So Omar’s wife is being investigated. And if, as it appears, she knew beforehand, she will likely be held responsible in some way. And my guess is that most people would agree that she would deserve punishment if she did know. In fact, you might get very angry at the idea that someone could know of impending doom and say nothing.

But I wonder if we, as Christians, see the larger context and implications of such an idea. What if we are aware, what if we are witnesses, what if we have special knowledge of a coming disaster that will take out millions, possibly billions of people? And what if we do nothing and say nothing?

Will God ignore our complacency? It is worthy of consideration. Let’s remember our primary mission: preach the gospel…in season and out of season…warn others and let them know of the available salvation in Christ. Like the hymn says, we don’t ever want to be in the position where someone could say, “you never mentioned Him to me.”

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Interrupted, but Pressing On!

Terrorism, in any form, is one of the lowest, most cowardly things that one human being can do to another. The ultimate purpose of terrorists is to inflict fear. One of the best ways to inflict terror is to take something that seems happy, safe, and predictable and turn it into something painful and chaotic. This is exactly what the recent bombers of the Boston Marathon hoped to accomplish.

In Galatians 5:7-10, the apostle Paul deals with terrorists who were interrupting a different kind of race. When he sees runners in the Christian marathon stumbling, he asks, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” He then warns terrorists that the judgment will be harsh for those who interrupt, bomb, and terrorize those who are running for God. Paul says, “The one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.”

While the Boston terrorists were successful in causing harm, it remains to be seen what our reaction will be. If the past is any indication, Americans are very resilient. Marathons will continue, and many will come to cheer runners in the future. For most of us, life will go on as before with the exception that a little more innocence has been stolen from us.

My heart and prayers go out to the families of the victims, the participants in the Marathon, and the citizens of Boston for the recent terrorist action. At times such as this, we are comforted in the knowledge that neither bomb, nor terrorist, “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

No matter what happens along the way, no matter what our enemies try to do to stop us, we must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). For those who remain faithful despite all challenges, there is a “crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).