|9/11: A Vivid Picture of Life Realities|
(by Chris Long)
Early this morning, I watched a special on the 9/11 terrorist attacks that recounted using footage from that day all that transpired. I have to admit that I had actually forgotten some of the details and watching the events unfold again rekindled all sorts of thoughts & emotions. Seeing people jumping from the towers to their obvious death was a very surreal (and "silencing") thing. Actually the whole thing was - and still is - surreal.
I know that terror attacks have and do occur worldwide. I know that as far as the shear number of casualties, many more have died in other circumstances and events. Yet, there were heroes from that day (both that lived and died) - and they SHOULD be remembered and celebrated.
But, 9/11 speaks to more than that (for all people, American and otherwise). 9/11 showcases the clear difference between good and evil, light and darkness. Certainly other events have done the same (Hitler killing millions of people certainly did!) But before 9/11, we had been coasting for quite a while, at least in America, without really being confronted with such a clear, large-scale, visible example.
It's easy to forget details and emotions from those days because, well, there is a part deep down in all of us that WANT to forget - to pretend like the whole thing just never happened. It's easier to emotionally detach - to live in a dream world where we can pretend that all people just want to love each other and therefore just want love and understanding (i.e. everyone is "reasonable"). It's easier - as many have indeed done - to dispense with labels such as "terrorists". It's easier (i.e. "less painful") to insulate ourselves and pretend that everyone just wants peace. It's easier to believe that those who were behind 9/11 were just a few crazy guys, rather than taking a serious & honest look at what fueled their actions.
I would NEVER claim that all muslims are violent or would do such things, but at the same time, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice that societies that are predominantly muslim (i.e. much of the Middle East) tend to be more prone to violence - particularly violence in the name of Allah. It is certainly legitimate to ask why. And yet, in the name of "political correctness", the whole religious angle to 9/11 has been seriously downplayed by almost everyone.
Here's the reality: There's evil in this world. There are 2 sides: light and darkness, good and evil. Every person on this planet is in one of those 2 camps. Ultimately it gets traced to the spiritual realm, as those that are children of God, and those that are children of the devil. The Bible talks of both and makes clear that both are here. If you thought the Bible said we are all "children of God" (as many would have you believe), that is NOT a concept the Bible teaches - it explicitly teaches against that concept in numerous locations - including by Jesus Himself (i.e. when he flat out tells groups of people that their father is the devil!). And our world clearly bears out what the Bible teaches in this regard.
Christianity, like Islam, teaches that one group is right and others are wrong. A key difference though is that Christianity emphasizes that God is love and wants all people to come to Him and teaches that love is not only a key trademark of God, but is to be the major trademark of those that are followers of Jesus Christ as well. Anyone with any intellectual honesty at all, looking at the total picture of Islam in our world, would HAVE to conclude that the same cannot be said there.
Yes, I know there have been some events throughout history that have given Christians a bad rap as those that claimed to be Christian did some violent things (i.e. the Crusades). But true Christianity is marked by love, not violence - Jesus Himself told us this! (see John 13:34-35). Any Christian commiting an act of violence against someone else because of their beliefs, is an oxymoron - it completely goes against what Jesus taught.
But since we know God is love, we also know that the devil is NOT love. It stands to reason there will be plenty of people ready and willing to act in accordance with that. What happened in Nazi Germany in World War II PROVES that evil is something that resides in many (regardless of religious label they may claim) - all it takes is a spark and those that were "evil behind the scenes" suddenly become very visible. There are many more on the side of "evil" in our world than a few "deranged" individuals.
This isn't about muslims or non-muslims. The good vs. evil and light vs. darkness categories transcend these labels. As already mentioned, there have definitely been people throughout history that have worn a Christian label that have acted in ways opposed to that.
Until Jesus comes back to this earth and establishes it, there will be no peace because those 2 sides are existing here, and the darkness is ever trying to advance and squelch the light. Even more, according to the Bible it is going to get worse - much, much worse before Jesus' return. If you think people are having trouble facing reality now, just wait...If you haven't noticed, our whole society - our whole world - is gearing up for mass delusion (the Bible predicts this as well) - and some might even argue (and make a good case) that it has already started and is in progress.
People are so absorbed in trying to avoid really having to deal with the realities of life and eternity. Between movies, t.v. shows, facebook, twitter, blogs, cell phones, tablets, computers, 3-D, this gadget, that experience, etc. - we have already gone to great lengths (more I would say than any time in history) to avoid the important things - the truths that we NEED to face.
My encouragement this day to all believers in Jesus Christ is to be very very careful in how we're living. We need to have our eyes WIDE OPEN in these days we're living in, being very careful not to get swept away with all the temptations and distractions that the "broad road" has to offer. The devil can be quite subtle when it suits his purpose. We, more than ever, need to live holy, set apart lives, showcasing the love of Jesus, living in full reality of what's going on in our world - and what the Bible says about it and its future. We want to be "watching and waiting" - very much "on our toes" - ever mindful of Christ's return for His Church. We want to be ready, not caught off guard. We need to sober-minded in the strongest sense of the word. And all the while, may we be active in sharing and modeling the love of Jesus.
So on this anniversary of 9/11, yes it is good to remember those that died. But may we NEVER just reduce the remembrance of 9/11 to some mere sentimentality of those that died and neglect the very important, weightier matters that 9/11 showcased to all of humanity about this great struggle between good and evil...between God and the devil.
This is version 1.2 of this document (September 11, 2019). Any personal references relating to timing or specific events are likely from when the article was first written for the first version and may or may not currently be accurate.