Thoughts on 9/11

September 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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12 years ago today, our nation was rocked to it’s foundation by the actions of a few (although more could have been unknowingly thwarted) Muslims who hijacked planes and flew them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). Many of us have heard stories throughout the day remembering that tragic day. Many will watch documentaries and dramas tonight recounting the harrowing tales of those who survived the death and destruction. It is good to do these things. We must remember the tragedies that we’ve suffered else we get too full of ourselves. But, having done some of these things today, I have to ask a question that I think is very important.

What have we learned?

Is today just another quasi-holiday where we go through the motions of mourning and remembering? Is it another day where we hold special events to “honor” those who were killed? Is it a day where we give a reassuring hug to those who survived and then move on with the rest of our day? If that’s all that September 11th has become, then I have to say that I’m both sad and concerned.

I think it may be safe to say that September 11th, 2001 was the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor took place. No one would dare attack Americans on their home turf, right? No country would be stupid enough to bring the fight to us, would they? No group, organization, or faction would actually consider harming us in our own cities and towns, would they? You know the answer: Yes, they would. And they did. The safety of the American shorelines had been broken and Muslims had brought their hatred for the West to the very place they could do the most damage. We were complacent. We believed that we had done all that was needed to remain safe and that bubble of protection couldn’t be breached.

We were wrong.

The attack was quick and deadly, just like Pearl Harbor. But, I have to go back to my question. What have we learned? What about Pearl Harbor or 9/11 have we learned that will allow us to be safer? What have we learned about life? What have we learned about God? What have we learned about ourselves? 12 years later, I would have to say that we’ve learned almost nothing. What makes matters worse is that it seems that we’ve ignored some of the easiest lessons we SHOULD have learned. Nowadays, Islam is a protected religion. If anyone says anything about the Muslim faith or what it means practically, they’re labelled Islamophobes. It doesn’t matter if what they say is true. the Quran makes it clear that there is a war going on between Muslims and non-Muslims and it won’t end until the non-Muslims are converted or killed. But, that’s not tolerant, is it? Instead, our nation has turned a blind eye to the truth of Islam in an effort to appease those who follow it while Christians are having their liberties stripped from them on a daily basis by Muslims, homosexuals, and other anti-Christian groups. I wonder if that’s because they know that Christians won’t kill them because of it?

After the attacks, life was precious to us. The loss of life was seen for what it was and the 2,974 people who lost their lives were respected and honored. Their lives were valuable. But now? They are names on a monument. They are blips on the periphery of our tunnel vision and we hardly hold them in our minds and hearts. We’re too busy googling Miley Cyrus’ new music (porn) video. Just as our fear and humility was raised to a new level immediately after the attacks, so too was our value of life. And a dodecade later (yes, I made that word up), we gasp and weep at the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria while we murder 3,000 children every day in the name of choice. I think our double standard is showing.

Are we safer now? I think the words “Boston Marathon bomber” should be enough of an answer. We had information on the bombers and we did nothing with it. In the last 12 years, we’ve become numb to the pain we all experienced on 9/11. It’s been forgotten and replaced by a shallow, superficial tweaking of our emotions (except for those who were in it). We feel differently as the images dances before us taking us back to that day, but it’s a fleeting wisp of emotion that does nothing to motivate us. How do I know this to be true? Simple. Right after the attacks, large numbers of people flocked to churches across the nation. Politicians “prayed” in public. God’s name was invoked (in vain) as we worked through this tragedy. And within 3 weeks, church attendance had dropped to almost where it had been before the attacks. Are we so fickle and self-centered? Are we so sin-hardened that we think that we can run to God when we face troubles and then go back to our “normal” lives once the danger has passed? Has God become our genie in a bottle that grants us what we wish on our command and who is otherwise kept in his small decorative bottle until we need something from Him again? Are we so arrogant?

I think over the time since the attacks, what we have learned about ourselves is most apparent. We have increased our rebellion against God. We have elevated ourselves to the point that we’re entitled to everything that we think will make us happy without having to lift a finger to earn it. We have put entertainment and sports above all else and have forgone all knowledge and shame. Our lusts and passions have consumed us to the point that common sense and conscience are ignored.

The saddest part of all of this is the fact that it’s really hard to tell the church apart from the rest of the world. We’ve increased our rebellion against God. We’ve rejected His truth and His Word for our own idolatrous images. They may not be wood or stone, but they’re idols nonetheless. We’ve elevated ourselves to the height of arrogance. We think that we’re little gods and that we can command God to act on our behalf. We think that our way of preaching, teaching, singing, or “doing church” is the best way; even though God has laid out in His Word the way things are to be done. We think that we’re entitled to God’s blessing without having to be changed. We can sin against God and others with no repercussions. There’s no honesty or humility anymore. It’s all about image. We’ve replaced expositional preaching and sound Biblical doctrine with business methods, catchy message titles, games, entertainment, sports, and pastors who dress as Batman, Spiderman, Elvis, or a Transformer. We spend much time being busy in the church, but what do we have to show for it? Have our lives glorified God? We think we’re invincible. We’ve come to the “altar”, said the prayer, shed some tears, signed a card, and said “Jesus is Lord”; so we’re good, right? That’s all that’s necessary, isn’t it? There doesn’t have to be any life change. There isn’t any true fellowship necessary. There isn’t any honest look at our words or actions. As long as our facade is without spot and no one knows the truth about us, we’re good.

Is this really how things are supposed to be? Are we supposed to be about cliques, seekers, health, wealth, denomination, church membership, or any of the other myriad things that have become milestones for the modern Christian? Have the words of the Lord just become a soft echo in the back of our mind? Have we learned nothing in the last 12 years? 2,974 people died on 9/11. How many were born again? How many had repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone to save them? How many knew without a doubt that, as their life passed out of their grasp that day, they would stand before the glorious Savior who shed His precious blood for their sins and made them whole? How many sad goodbye that day knowing that they would one day be reunited around the throne of God worshipping the Lamb forever? How many entered eternity to stand before the holy, just Judge of the earth? How many heard the thundering voice of many waters condemn them for their sins? How many watched as the eyes of fire searched their soul and saw every hidden sin? How many felt their knees weaken as the weight of the wrath of God weighed them down? How many listened as the Lord of all proclaimed that He never knew them?

Today, our nation is filled with people who seem more concerned with what people say (including themselves), regarless of whether it is true. Many claim to be Christians, and yet they live in sin. They commit fornication, adultery, idolatry, covetousness, and numerous other sins. As we remember the tragedy of the 12 years ago, we must remember that the truth still remains. All will die. No one will be exempt from this truth. As we watch the videos and hear the stories of those who survived, let’s remember the truth of the One who died that sinners might survive the wrath of God. Let’s live our lives so that people will know us as Christians, not only by what we say, but because of our character. Let’s preach the gospel to those we come in contact with. Let’s preach sound doctrine, teach the truth of God unerringly, and hate sin. Let’s remember that the harvest is white, and that many will not have tomorrow. Let’s forgive and be reconciled to those around us. Let us love like Christ in truth, justice, mercy, and humility.

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