RELIGION COLUMN: Where do we go from here?

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Jake McCall

What should be the response of the Christian following this act of terror that happened in Boston?

There have been a lot of responses to this bombing. Some people are angry. Some people are afraid. Some people are sad, disturbed and unsettled.

Some are ready to go to war. Something like this stirs up a lot of emotions, and I think I experienced a portion of all of the above feelings.

Seeing the reality of evil and hate manifest itself through murder and terror can cause new levels of bitterness arise.

Now, I don’t necessarily think that being upset and disturbed about what happened on Monday is wrong, but I do think that we all have to be aware of the danger of responding to hate with hate.

Though we may have many different responses, we should have one primary response. We should love our neighbor.

That may sound weak and out of place, but I believe that must be where our focus is. Satan, the great enemy of God and the great enemy of the Christian, intends to use hate to garner a response of hate in return.

Hate, bitterness and anger hardens hearts and cancels out love. Our hope for following Christ and loving our neighbor is to be sure that we do not have hate in our hearts.

Jesus knew that if we hated our enemies then we would not be able to love our neighbors; therefore, he said, “Love your enemies.”

He is calling for love to be in our hearts and overwhelmingly and even unreasonably so.

I will admit that my natural reaction is to hate whoever killed those three people and changed the lives of so many others. Satan would love for my hate to overshadow my call to love.

So here’s how I believe we should respond to this terrible attack – love more.

Love people more. Find new ways to care for and selflessly serve people. Seek to overwhelm the dark cloud that is over this world with the bright light of Christ. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary in doing good. For in due season, we will reap if we do not give up.”

Paul wrote this knowing that doing good could become wearisome, and there will be times when we may feel like giving up, but he urges Christians not to give up.

God is redeeming this world. He will defeat evil forever.

In the meantime, let us seek the Holy Spirit, confess any and all hate, repent of it, be free from it and love our neighbor.

—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church.