It’s 3pm Central Time and due to an abnormally busy work day, I’m just now finding out about the bombings in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Some sources say it’s another terrorist attack, but I haven’t been able to find enough confirmation from reliable sources. As my heart breaks for this country, enduring yet another tragedy in a string of senseless killings, I feel the weight of the gospel pressing in my heart as I consider how easily some of my running friends could have been injured or killed in this race.
Over the next few hours and days, as more detail comes to light, many of us will experience a flood of emotions ranging from pain to outrage. These are right and good emotions. This is a tragic offense not only against Americans, but against humanity. Whether or not we put a face or nationality to these bombings, the right response toward this event is a demand for justice, and feeling sorrow, loss, and anger are equally right. As Christians, it’s important how we handle those emotions. The words Christians speak over the next few days will either serve to bring people together as we mourn, or to widen the gap.
We all want justice for the victims and their families. We want the perpetrators of this atrocity brought to justice. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but we cannot let our pain and anger cloud our thinking and affect our ability to think and act Christianly. Yes, we must pray that the government is able to find, arrest, and prosecute those behind this attack. We must also fall on the grace of God to find the strength to pray for those who orchestrated this tragedy. We must not allow our hearts to become cold, callous, or bitter; because we know that even if these criminals get away here, they will face God’s justice in the end. They will either face His justice in Hell as anyone apart from Christ would, or Christ will have faced the wrath of God for them if they do turn to Jesus. This should be our prayer: that those responsible would fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and repent of their sins. This offends our patriotism and our sensibilities, but that is what Christians must do.
were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The grace of God is fearsome. It can comfort the hearts of those broken and wounded by this, causing them to repent and trust Jesus. It presses Christians further into the gospel to find strength and hope. It can also overwhelm the hearts of those behind this attack, causing them to repent to Jesus and to confess and turn themselves in to face the temporal punishment they justly deserve. And the grace of God is strong enough to give you and I the strength and compassion to pray for the hearts of those behind this crime.
In all of this, the gospel gives us peace because we know that God is sovereign and good and that this is not beyond His reach or beneath His concern. I can’t answer questions about why this happened. I can promise that if God allowed this to happen, it is to further the kingdom of God and it is for His glory and the good of the elect (Rom. 8:28). As such, this may very well be the catalyst to turn this country back toward God. Or it may not. But in all things, we have peace and rest in Christ because we have been justified by His blood and will spend eternity with Him. This future grace serves to give us the fuel and strength we need to keep pressing further into Him, and to take care how we respond to this situation.
Love. Grace. Peace.