“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were saw[n] in two; they were put to death by the sword. … the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
Hebrews 11:36, 38 (NIV UK)
A year ago last March, we watched anxiously as law enforcement and homeland security desperately sought two young suspects in the Boston Marathon attacks.
The people of Boston experienced—for a few days—what so many around the world have come to accept as a way of life. Young people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are growing up never knowing a single day of peace or security.
Although we were able to breathe a sigh of relief when the crisis came to an end, the authorities cannot drop their guard. Even the best security forces cannot guarantee 100 per cent protection. That is the nature of our violent, angry world. Sometimes the situation seems hopeless.
Events like this should move us to be introspective and question the intent of our hearts. How does someone become so filled with hate and indifference for others that they could carry out something so monstrous? We might wonder what goes through the mind of a terrorist as they plot destruction. Do they “see” the innocent men, women and children that they will directly affect—the lives they lead, or their countless friends and family? So much of this mayhem is caused by misguided religious zeal.
We are all capable of cruelty and indifference. As Jesus explained, “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).
The vast majority of us, whatever our belief system, would never seek physically to harm someone. However, our actions or lack of actions emotionally harm others. Ask yourself, “What behaviour do I allow that can hurt and destroy?”
The apostle Paul tells us to have the mind of Christ and let the Spirit renew our thoughts. A terrorist convinces himself that his actions will change the world to the way he thinks it should be. So let’s ask ourselves, “What changes will I make today in my schedule, relationships, and actions that will change the world and that will especially change me to how Jesus Christ intends it to be?”
Holy Father, human beings seem to think that the only way to make change is through violence, war, competition and hatred. Help us each as individuals to demonstrate that that is not so. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.