Today we observed the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. Like many of you, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I can also remember what I was thinking when it happened.
I remember thinking this was God’s judgment raining upon America. I can remember praying fervently, repenting for my Country’s wrongs, asking for God’s mercy.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the wake of the attacks, there were more Christian preachers and teachers saying that this was God’s judgment against America for accepting homosexuality, pornography, and all other wanton immorality. All the “prophecy-hounds” were in full-effect, working feverishly to eisegetically fit the events into their eschatology.
Also, the über-patriots were waving their flags, crafting their slogans, and spewing the rhetoric of revenge, as if America occupied some place of moral superiority. While any terrorist spirit is wrong (Luke 9:54-55), it would behoove us – as a nation – to look introspectively at ourselves and search our collective heart and repent (change our mind) against any national policy that invokes the anger and provokes the wrath of other nations.
If God were punishing America, surely He could have done it for the sake of slavery. Or he could have rained down judgment for the mistreatment of Native Americans. He could have smacked-down America for her mistreatment of women.
But, no, He didn’t. And you want to know why?
God is not angry at America. And He’s not angry with any Americans. Heck, He’s not angry with Russians, Chinese, Indians, French, Nigerians, or Brazilians, either.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about it:
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
I boldfaced the text so it would stand out but did you catch it? The “chastisement of our peace” in verse 5 was the punishment that was intended for mankind – Jesus bore it! In verse 6, it says the Lord “laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all – that means Jesus became sin for us!
I don’t know if you see the full implication of this, but that is good news for sinner and saint, alike! What this means is that there will be no more Sodom and Gomorrah. There will be no more Jericho. There will be no more Nineveh. Why, because the punishment for ALL MANKIND was laid upon Jesus. This is why accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior sets you free from the sin debt – it was paid in full on the Cross, at Calvary.
Do you get it? The war mankind declared against God in the Garden was now ended because of the sacrifice of Jesus. This is why the angels were able to proclaim the good news to the shepherds, “peace on earth, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
Now, lest anyone assume I’m tilting toward universalism let me make this clear: salvation is AVAILABLE to everyone but it must be APPROPRIATED individually! You can almost think of it as a class-action lawsuit – the victory is won but you have to individually claim your share! Only those who call upon the name of Jesus (Romans 10:13), believing in their hearts and confessing with their mouths that Jesus was raised from the dead for their redemption will be saved!
To make this all simple, Jesus’ finished work on the Cross completely obliterated sin, once and for all, for those who believe.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me say I love America, warts and all. In all of this there is one simple truth that must be reconciled:
That means there are children without fathers or mothers. Husbands were left without wives; wives lost their husbands. Parents were left without children. Two major cities in the United States were devastated. For many, the poignant sting of death has lost its edge. For others, the pain still resonates clearly. In both cases, we who were not directly impacted must continue to pray for those who were. We must remember to render compassion to all who suffered loss of a loved one.
While there is plenty of blame to go around – yes there are folks who incorrectly see America as completely corrupt and morally bankrupt, and there ARE folks within our government who lend credibility to the aforementioned premise – we ought not spend time wagging the crooked finger of blame at whatever target. We need to pray for our leaders – Lord knows they need it. We need to pray for those who have enmity against us. We need to pray that every system of belief and religion comes to the realization that there is no other way to the Father than the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Most of all, we must never forget. This is a date of significant tragedy but it is also a day our nation came together. I believe if we can rally together in tragedy, someday we – as a nation – will rally around the finished work of Jesus.
At least that is my prayer.
© 2013 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)