Don’t Shrink Back

Editor’s Note:  This is an anonymous submission from the author of “Open Letter: Another Story of God Working on Our Hearts.”

Time has passed. Over a year since the attack on Boston in April 2013, and several months since I first wrote my open letter to the editor of this blog. I have wanted to write again for a while.  However, my thoughts have been hard to articulate, and it is important to me that I get out exactly what I want to express and in the right way.

I pray that one day I will have the courage to speak unapologetically about the things I am about to say. I will be straightforward about it today. I have been feeling a mounting sense of urgency. I, among many other Christians, feel that humanity is hurtling forward at break-neck speed toward judgment. We have read of these things in the Bible, we even speak of them in passing, however I don’t feel that we have really grasped them. In recent days, it has felt more and more real to me than ever.

Since the days that Jesus walked this earth, I am sure that many believers have felt that they were living in the days in which Christ’s return would surely occur. But one thing is undeniable. We are closer now than ever. Things are as they were in the days of Noah. Each year of human history that passes is more perplexing and more telling than the one before. I truly believe that a fateful day is coming. But that and the many things to follow is a saga for another day, another time, perhaps a different website. I don’t know.

My point is that we should be ever more passionate with each passing day to reach people with the good news, no matter who they are. This can involve tough love at times. We must pray relentlessly for the victims of horrible acts like this and reach out to the oppressed. But we must also love the enemy. There is no way around that if you call yourself a child of God. Without it, you only have part of the gospel. There seems to be a lack of understanding about the fact that justice and mercy are compatible. And the word “love” is used so loosely these days, nobody knows what in the world we as Christians mean when we use such a word. That’s sad.

I have nothing to say about the legal case involving this individual. I have not been called onto the jury. I have no bearing on this case, and I don’t care to. I pray that whatever is served will be just. However, I also know that there is a reason that this situation, of all things, has been laid on so many people’s hearts. I do not doubt that it has changed the awareness of many. I know it has changed mine, and I am not ashamed of that fact.

I feel as though so many earth shaking events have taken place, so many acts of evil have been carried out, that it’s almost like it’s hardening us. I remember the day of the Sandy Hook shootings. As I watched live coverage, I nearly had a nervous break down. I have a scar on my hand where I spilled boiling water on myself because I didn’t know what I was doing. What shook me to my core was the thought of a human having enough darkness in them that they could possibly turn their gun on the innocent. Something as innocent as a child. A few months later came the Boston bombings. The cycle began again. I felt like I was being torn into a million pieces, like I was watching earth crash on top of humanity. More innocent bloodshed. An 8 year old falling victim to somebody else’s darkness. Two beautiful women. A young police officer with a heart of gold. Hundreds more whose lives are shattered, just like that.

The way that humans can treat each other so brutally pains me to see. Let me just say that I believe there is a vast difference in righteous anger and hatred. I truly feel as if most people are looking for reasons to be hateful. It doesn’t matter what the subject is.. So much nonsense! From the little bit I’ve seen of the public response to this case and a multitude of other cases, especially on websites like Twitter and Instagram, I can hardly stand to look at it all- most any side of it. Most anybody reading this knows what I’m talking about. I don’t need to elaborate. After such dark situations, it blows my mind that people choose to add to it. That’s what I said, add to it. It adds to the warfare.

Over the past year I’ve hungered for stories of redemption. I’ve read of courageous survivors of the Holocaust and the ways God has worked in their hearts. I’ve read of beautiful, incredible revivals in Syria. In places where bombings are common place. I’ve read stories of victims of some of the most unimaginable acts by extremists finding healing in mercy. Even stories of extremists themselves coming to Jesus. Now, the worst anybody has ever done to me is probably calling me a vulgar name or accusing me of lying. I’m hardly an oppressed person or victim of anything. But I cannot deny the ways God has worked in my heart through the things I have spoken of. And one thing stands out to me, we cannot allow ourselves to be hardened. We must not doubt what our God can do even in the midst of the darkest, deepest horrors mankind has ever seen!

He does not want us to waste our lives being angry unrightfully. It is a tremendous responsibility of ours to learn to be just, to be merciful, to care deeply, to love like Jesus Christ does. It was all balanced perfectly on the cross. If we believe it we must live it.

I would like to say to those who are praying for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s salvation, I see the opposition. Don’t shrink back. I pray that more people come to understand. So much is at stake throughout the world. Time will one day run out. We are loved. We must love. We must show people what that word means.

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.” (Luke 6:27)

“…Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’
And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him…” (Luke 23:34-36)

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7 Responses to Don’t Shrink Back

  1. Ada says:

    Yes. God has not given us a reason to lose hope for Jahar, even with the SAMs, etc.
    And I love the verses from Luke: Even in the midst of the insulting Christ, people understood enough of the glory of God to “behold.”

  2. brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

    “But we must also love the enemy. There is no way around that if you call yourself a child of God. Without it, you only have part of the gospel.” YES. I am utterly shocked at the number of people who call themselves Christians but act horrified when they learn that I pray for Jahar or that I pray for and write to inmates on death row. As a Christian, I choose to love like Jesus did. I want to be as much like Him as possible.

  3. Sarah Who Wrote This says:

    Hi- I wrote this. I just wanted to say it really encouraged me to read these comments. It never fails to bless me knowing that there are people out there who haven’t shrunk back- who care about this young man and the multitude of other people who are in similar situations. It’s so so sad to see how many people, including those who claim to be Christians, are opposed to this type of thing, who apparently think the gospel only applies to people who aren’t criminals by the law. Time is so short. I don’t want to reach the end of my vapor to find that I missed the point. Up until a year or so ago, I know I had missed the point. It makes me sad to think about the time I wasted completely oblivious to the needs of the people around us.

    I’ve chosen to keep my focus on eternal matters when it comes to things like this… In the end when the time comes for each of us to stand before God, without the blood of Christ we will be in exactly the same position as the terrorist, the murderer, the rapist, the liar, the thief.. Imagine the shockwaves that would go through the country if word got out that the Boston bomber had abandoned Islam? That He had found Christ??
    I wish people could understand that we are in no way justifying Dzhokhar’s actions. We are simply trying to see things God’s way.

    Also, If you haven’t I’d highly recommend checking out Voice of the Martyrs. I don’t have the words to even describe it, it’s one of the most powerful impacting resources I’ve ever found.

    I would be happy to continue to contribute to this blog when more things are laid on my heart.

    Take heart, my friends.

    • brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

      “Imagine the shockwaves that would go through the country if word got out that the Boston bomber had abandoned Islam? That He had found Christ??” YES. It would bring SO MUCH GLORY to God’s name! He is truly able to redeem anyone from anything!

      I would LOVE if you would join us here more regularly and contribute more often. I’m always so excited to gain a new sister in Christ who is in this with me. ❤

  4. Ada says:

    Thank you Sarah!

  5. Bri says:

    Thanks for contributing again, Sarah.

    “But we must also love the enemy. There is no way around that if you call yourself a child of God. Without it, you only have part of the gospel. There seems to be a lack of understanding about the fact that justice and mercy are compatible.” So many people who call themselves Christians don’t realize that justice and mercy came together perfectly on the cross. The bad news is that justice for ALL of us would be hell, but the good news is that there is mercy available for ALL of us because Jesus paid our debt. Like you said, “It was all balanced perfectly on the cross.”

    “We must not doubt what our God can do even in the midst of the darkest, deepest horrors mankind has ever seen!” After all, God used the darkest day in history to accomplish our salvation. Surely He can use the tragedy of the Boston Marathon Bombings and bring beautiful things out of it—for Jahar, for his family, for the victims, etc.

    • brokenheart4whatbreakshis says:

      He already HAS brought some beautiful things out of it – and I know that will continue. Reminds me of my post “Ex Nihilo.” 🙂

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