“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” ~Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl
Today has been called “Patriot Day” in memory of all those who perished in terrorist attacks against our country on September 11, 2001. For the many people who have been scarred by the events of that day, as well as the terrorist actions taking place throughout the years, it might be a bit much for us to consider loving our enemy or having mercy upon those who wish us harm.
I still remember the heated words of one of my parishioners all those years ago shortly after the terrible tragedy on September 11, 2001. The person was speaking about the Muslims. He made a very blanket statement: “It would be better if they were all dead.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. This, from a believer. From someone who called himself a Christian. From someone who claimed to believe in God, as well as God’s love and mercy. Yet, at that moment in time, there was no place in his heart for mercy or forgiveness or love. There was only hatred.
Raw, cold, dead hatred.
It is that hatred that is a very real part of this sinful world in which we live. It is that hatred that Jesus faced, dying a horrible death on the cross. It is that hatred that Jesus asks us to reject.
There are “bad” people in every ethnicity, in every religion, in every culture. Would it be better if the entire world were dead? Friends, we are called to live lives of love. We are called to be witnesses to the Lord. We are called to show that this world can, indeed, be a better place if we so desire and work toward change.
In the midst of all the programming that will take place today, let not hatred claim a stake in your heart. We do well to remember the fallen this day. We do well to consider how we might best preserve freedom in our country and our world. We also do well to remember that we — all of us — are God’s children and that we need to live as He asks us to live. It is a high standard to follow but it is well worth the cost.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for the victims of violence around the world today. Pray for an end to the violence that is perpetrated against innocent people worldwide. Pray for peace.