Once again, with a heavy heart, I am writing about a tragedy that has occurred in our society. Yesterday, during the Boston Marathon, a series of deadly bombings ripped through the crowds injuring over a hundred of people, even killing two. This senseless act of malicious violence once again confirms the bleak, desolate state our broken world is currently in. During his White House address, President Barack Obama declared that he would find those who did this malicious crime and they will “feel the full weight of justice.” I whole-heartedly agree with the President and his bold cry for justice, but I tend to wonder if I truly understand what justice means at times. After reading my Bible in hopes of finding light to this situation, I stumbled across a passage that wrecked my heart. As I share the following words I read, please tread patiently with me through the entire article. In no way am I trying to senselessly disarm this situation with heartless Christian divergent tactics. I am only trying to humbly bring light to the truth about difficult situations such as these in hopes of bringing peace to those who are hurting.
CAN GOD BE INSENSITIVE?
Jesus Christ is the most loving, gracious, kind, compassionate, humble, servant-hearted, and joyful man that ever walked the Earth. Not only was he a strong leader whose words convicted the hearts of the multitudes He spoke to, but he was also a compassionate friend who shed tears on many occasions for the death of those close to him (John 11:35). Jesus loved all people regardless of their race, class, age, or sexual orientation. On this Earth, Jesus suffered more emotional and spiritual pain than anyone before or after him. He was the perfect man, the God-man, who was on mission to save those whom he loved from the pain, suffering, and torment that sin has left the world in. But Jesus, at times, said words that my wicked heart tends to grow bitter towards. He said things that left even his closest of friends shaking their heads in confusion because of its seemingly “insensitive nature.” Read with me as we take a look into one of these jaw-dropping, blunt statements that was made by Jesus to the people,
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-5
In this passage of scripture, we see Jesus describing two tragic events that occurred in Israel. On one occasion, a group of Galileans were killed by Roman guards while they were making sacrifices to God, and on the other occasion a group of eighteen people died after a tower collapsed and crushed them. Both these individuals more than likely died with families and friends who for days shed tears of anguish because of the death of their loved ones. All these victims' hopes, dreams, and future goals were ruined due to either the vicious acts of lawless ungodly men or an unforeseen accident. And how does Jesus respond to this heartbreaking, distressing, painful situation? He says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
“How dare he?!” We would say. What type of insensitive person would look at a situation where innocent people died for no reason and say that we all will perish with the same fate if we don’t repent? If Jesus is God, and God is a God of righteousness, truth, and justice, why is he not sending a legion of angels in order to destroy those evildoers? What in the world is going on here? Well, let me give you a reason as to why Jesus made this claim. Jesus said these things not because he was an insensitive, religious leader who doesn’t have a heart—he is God in the flesh who suffered the punishment for every sin that was ever committed on the Earth. He said these things in order to bring us on our faces in tears, so we can see that the wicked horrors in society are the same wickedness that is present in our very hearts.
A lot of times we can look at a situation such as a tower falling on innocent people or the Boston bombings and ask ourselves how can such a thing happen to those good people? Yet, that should never be the question posed. Horrific events such as these should always push us to ask the question, “How can a loving, perfect, righteous God not allow an event like that happen to a wicked person such as me?”
The Bible says that all men are sinful and “none do good” (Romans 3:1-11) and similar to Obama’s plight for seeking justice against evildoers, God also will punish those who do evil, which is all of us. We are not good people who occasionally do bad things, as some psychologist may deceive us into believing, we are inherently bad people who occasionally do good things through the grace of God. And God being a God of holiness, will punish all of us because we are not holy and pure. Yet, the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that through the cross forgiveness is available for everyone. God can forgive the Romans who slew the Galileans, He can forgive the men who are behind the Boston bombings, and he can forgive all of us who sin against him every day. When tragedy strikes, it's an opportunity for us to see the grace that he has for all, regardless of who they are and what they have done.
GOD IS LOVE, NO MATTER THE SITUATION
The Bible says that Jesus is able to sympathize with us during all of our pains and sufferings (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus consistently wept over the injustice and perils of this world throughout his entire life (Luke 19:41). But the Bible also makes clear that God allows injustice not so that we can point to him and say, “God, why are you not good?” but to cause us to fall on our faces and say, “God, thank you so much for being good and forgiving me even though I don’t deserve it.”
Please continue to be in prayer for those who are victims of the bombings in Boston. Regardless of how we interpret the Bible, God is not an insensitive absentee landlord, for He here’s the cries and meets the needs of his afflicted children. As we pray, let us continue to reflect inwardly in order to see that we are the same as those sinners who planted these bombs, but the goodness and grace of God appeared in order for us and everyone else who trusts in Jesus to repent and live.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” Ezekiel 18:32