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)