We are living in an age of terror. Our news reports are filled with violence: school shootings, road rage, mass murders at schools, parades, malls, churches… nowhere seems to be safe.
Proverb 6:17 tells us that “God hates hands that shed innocent blood.” Don’t we all? I know I do.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I supported the voices that called for war. I signed up for the National Guard. We demanded justice for the nearly 3000 lives lost. Ironically, our desire for payback cost the lives of 2500 more Americans in Afghanistan as the longest war in US history dragged on. Twenty years later we would leave, and Afghanistan would quickly revert to Taliban control. Perhaps, war was not the answer.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the world was on our side. Even Yassar Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), denounced the attacks. Democrats and Republicans gathered in front of the Capitol and sang “God Bless America.” That seems like such a long time ago. Partisan politics rules the day once more and we squandered our global good will. Perhaps, war was not the answer.
What if we had responded differently? What if we had not gone to war? Was there a better way? What does God do about hands that shed innocent blood?
Adam and Eve's son, Cain was the first to shed innocent blood. He killed his brother in a jealous rage. God reached out to Cain and offered Cain an opportunity to confess his guilt and show remorse and repent. When Cain rejected God’s grace and therefore received judgment, God still extended the mercy of protection on him.
In 2006 five girls were killed and six injured in a school shooting in an Amish community. The father of one of the girls urged against hatred. He said about the shooter, “He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God".
An Amish midwife who had helped birth several of the girls murdered by the shooter reported that they were planning to take food over to his family’s house. She said, "This is possible if you have Christ in your heart."
The victim’s families forgave the shooter and invited his wife to their funeral. Resist the thoughts of violence and terror! Let self-control and love for God and the sanctity of life rule in your hearts. Surrender to God and let His power deal with your pain, your bitterness, your thoughts of revenge, your hatred.
Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Come near to God
and He will come near to you.