Evil was on display very prominently in Paris, France last week. Innocent people attending a peaceful concert were murdered in the name of “faith.”
It takes a truly twisted, evil person to destroy life in the name of God.
Why would God allow something like this? Why would God allow such terrible things to be done in His name (Muslims claim to worship the same God we do; the God of the Old Testament). Can’t He stop these things from happening? Is He a powerless God or just uncaring?
God is a loving God who has given us freedom. God chooses not to control our every action. To do so would render us nothing more than little puppets on a string; toys for His amusement. This is not why He created us. He, instead, wants children whom He can love and from whom He can receive love. Love, however, has to be freely given. There has to be a choice. Love cannot be forced from someone through manipulation or control. That is nothing more than slavery. God wants children not slaves, so He has given us the right to choose Him and His ways or to choose ourselves and our own ways.
This is a blessing because we are free. We are given the right to make our own decisions. We don’t worship a God who manipulates us for His own ends. He does not force us to follow Him nor does He make our choices for us. We are free. We get to choose our own destiny. I am the master of my own fate and that gives me worth. My choices are my own and what I become in life is the result of what I’ve chosen to be. That’s a blessing that cannot be taken away.
This is also a challenge because we often make choices that harm us. We often don’t make very good decisions. People know what is good and what is bad; what is harmful and what is helpful. They just choose to ignore those things and end up harming themselves by choosing things that damage them. Our selfishness and our penchant for placing too much value on Earthly things, power or physical experiences combine to cause foolishness in our life choices. God gets the blame for many things we do to ourselves!
It’s a challenge because we are subject to the consequence others make. The decisions everyone around us make affect us. We are harmed by the selfishness of others and their misguided paths. The painful side of freedom is the hurt others cause as they attempt to find happiness or meaning in themselves rather than in the path God has given us. His way leads to peace for us and those around us. Our way inevitably leads to pain.
My heart hurts for all those suffering from this terrible war of terrorism. This, however, is man’s will, not God’s.
Where was God in the midst of this tragedy? In the middle of it. He was there and His heart hurt. It must be a terrible feeling for God to watch what we do to each other and to ourselves. We are His children and our pain hurts Him. He will continue to be present with the victims and their families. His peace and comfort will be theirs if they seek Him.
Let’s place the blame where it belongs, though. This was man’s doing, not God’s. The evil in this world comes from us, not from Him.
Rob Morton is minister of First Christian Church Middlesboro. Contact him at [email protected]