Once again the nation is in shock as senseless violence has exploded into our lives. There is no downplaying the emotional impact of random violence in our world. Anger and fear quickly rule the day as suspicions arise, inflammatory—and frequently outright as well as deliberately false—information quickly spreads through various media. Our nation is hurting. Yet, as Christians, a little perspective is a good thing!
The first thing we need to remember is that terrorism is deliberately and intentionally intended to create terror. The more afraid we get, the more effective this evil becomes. In
Christ we can choose
to refuse to be terrorized.
As tragic and horrific as this event was, consider the carnage in terms of automobile accidents. Using statistics from the US Census Bureau, over 100 people die and over 7,000 are injured every day in the United States because of automobiles. Yet, we are generally not afraid to get behind the wheel of a car and take that chance every day.
The contrast of our daily automobile carnage compared to the comparatively few shattered lives in Boston illustrates a fundamental tool of terrorism. The threat is exaggerated to the point of creating a false sense of eminent danger and subsequent fear. This is why terrorists choose high-profile events such as the Boston Marathon and depend so heavily on viral media sources such as the internet. It plays right into their sadistic game.
Tragically, they do not require much help in generating the doubt, fear, and outrage they desire. Immediately following a catastrophic event such as the most recent bombing, individuals with paranoid fears and individuals with a pathologically warped sense of humor quickly create, post, and distribute false information causing people to jump to irrational—and often increasingly frightening over reactions.
As Christians, our first response to such a diabolical assault on our national consciousness is to pray. More than just an antidote to fear and rage, prayer is unequaled at calming our spirits and refocusing our minds on what really matters. What this nation really needs now is more prayer!
Our prayers need to be honest with God. We are hurting. We are angry. We are disgusted. We are afraid. Prayerfully giving those negative emotions over to God is the beginning point in healing prayer.
We need to pray for those whose lives have been shattered. This obviously includes the ones who have suffered loss and injury as well as the ones who bore witness to the carnage and rendered aide to those in need. Yet, this prayer also needs to extend to the people who, for whatever unexplainable reason, have felt the need to unleash such despicable violence. Whatever hatred motivated the attack must not be the cause for more hatred or the cycle of violence and inhumanity will only continue!
Prayer is also needed for the rampant scourge of paranoia and irrational conjecture that is permeating much of the media—especially the social media. Spreading gossip and unsubstantiated rumors on the internet is sinful—no matter how reliable they may seem or how much we may want to believe in their validity. Pointing fingers, seeking out wild conspiracy plots, or touting evil political intrigue makes for wonderful novels, but only hurts innocent people when applied in a disaster such as this.
It is time that we, as Christians, really call ourselves to prayer. Real, humble, honest, and heart-felt prayer.