As the dust of the bombings begins to settle, a number of responses are beginning to surface. Some reactions are positive, but some are counterproductive. Here are two wrong ways to respond to the bombings:
The senseless acts of evil in our world led some to conclude that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, so, they say, “Let’s circle the wagons and insulate ourselves from an increasingly evil world.”
The problem with that response is that it’s self-reinforcing: the more we look for evil, the more we find evil. And the less we look for goodness, the less goodness we find. The fruit of that cycle is a deepening cynicism that is just no fun for anyone, especially for the people who are around you.
But even in the midst of the recent bombings, we saw people responding with goodness and courage. There were marathon participants who ran past the finish line to local hospitals where they donated blood. Another man rushed toward the explosions and ripped off his belt to create a tourniquet for a wounded victim. One man ran in and out of the danger zone, carrying people a hundred yards to safety. Joe Andruzzi, a retired NFL football star who won the Super Bowl three times with the New England Patriots, was seen carrying multiple victims away from the finish line. All three of the Andruzzi’s brothers were firemen who rushed into the wreckage of the Twin Towers on 9/11.
While London was bombed during WW2, CS Lewis wrote an essay called “Living in an Atomic Age.” Addressing the crippling fear that many lived under, especially after the development of the atom bomb, he wrote:
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’ In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things like praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint–not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”
So be at peace, my friend. Feed your mind with whatever is good, beautiful and true. Do not fear what you cannot control. Love God, do what He asks, and give to God what you cannot do. And, above all, trust God, no matter what.