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A Ministry Reaction to Terrorism

Terror and Fear

Terror and Fear

I was in Sydney mid-2014 and was struck by the content of the news and talk-back radio. As Islamic State barked out terror on our nation, calling on followers to kill Australians, people registered a deep sense of insecurity. Fears were held for the innocent becoming victims in a war that few of us know how to fight. Stories of potential random attacks led to people avoiding certain places. One of those places was Martin Place, the scene of a recent pre-Christmas horror that rocked our nation.

Increased policing has become a matter of course while politicians keep encouraging us to live our lives as normal and not be so overwhelmed by the preachers of terror such that our way of life be spoilt.

Living Life Normally

Living Life Normally

As I am told to get on with living my life normally, I have to admit to being more than a little troubled by recent events. Beheadings, crucifixions, the cutting of people in half and the sexual abuse of women are all outside the realm of what I understand to be sane behaviour. Some man involved in such atrocities on the other side of the world, declaring death on people like Australians, troubles me. He is not the first and, sadly, I doubt that he will be the last. One can only be aghast at a terrorism that walks into a schools in Pakistan and kills more than a hundred children leaving pain that I do not have the experience to fully comprehend.

national-security-hotline-image

As Australians encouraged to live life normally on the backdrop of terrorism and its threats, what does “living life as normal” look like, when we are asked to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to 1800123400?

While I too would recommend vigilance and urge people to add the number to their phone contacts, I would also have to say that having a “National Hotline” in my phone is not my idea of normal. It has never been in my phone before but it is likely to be part of the “new normal”.

It seems that normal living in the future will require greater powers by our police to detain and question. As a person with nothing to hide I am comfortable with that. I don’t see it as an invasion of my privacy but a protection for all.

Normal living will have to patiently endure slower queues getting into sporting venues and hopping on planes, because those who will value or respect us want to protect us from those who don’t. Personally, I will pray that the waiting presents opportunity to introduce people to Jesus for if God is sovereign then he wastes nothing, not even our waiting. Opportunities to grow in godliness and display godliness will abound as they always have.

Old Answers to Questions about the “New Normal”

Old Answers to Questions about the “New Normal”

As this “new normal” continues to emerge for Australians, I have begun to ask myself questions such as…

  • “Is there anything normal in my life that I would never want to change—something that would remain normal even amidst the greatest upheavals?
  • Is there something normal in my life that would stand firm and challenge the most ugly and brutal realities of life?
  • Is there something normal in my life that Islamic State does not have the heart or the capacity for?”

The firm answer I have found is “yes” and it is found on the lips of Jesus Christ, who said “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Do to others as you would have them do to you… Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” [see Luke 6:27–36].

It is these words that I want to be normal in my life.

A Better Way

A Better Way

While some might argue that they are naive words in the face of an enemy like Islamic State, few would argue against the view that the way of Jesus Christ is better. Jesus Christ endured the wounds of an enemy to triumph through love with forgiveness and reveal the God of mercy. I am prepared for a “new normal” but there are some normal things I never want to change–love, forgiveness and mercy.

Who wants to live in a world where the “new normal” is brought about by merciless hatred that has no heart to forgive? That is an abnormality to which I will never give credence.

Those of the “Hall of fame” in Hebrews 11 were commended for their faith even though they suffered terrorist style atrocities. Faith in Almighty God was the norm. They trusted in the promises of God never seeing the better things that God had planned for us in Christ. But we have!

So in the context of a sinful, fallen world with potential for so much evil, live like those in the Hebrews hall of fame. Our world is desperately in need of a people who will…

“lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrew 12:1-3)

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