I am loathsome to be a government official in Brussels today. My heart is heavy for them, as what options could have prevented the bombing? What more could I possibly do if I’m in office at the Grand Place? Surely the circumstances demand a greater response from me and my peers; but what is it? These questions, and a myriad more, are being asked internally and externally, and I’d be heavy hearted in every possible way.
I tend to believe that the human race is intelligent collectively, and does have everyone’s best interest in mind in the best of circumstances. Yet, in moments of crisis, we can not rely on new systems to secure us, only those which we’ve already instituted, hoping they work.
What more can a society do to prevent mass attacks?
There is only so much that technology and manpower can do. In the face of violent attacks attempted against innocent life, it is up to sober-minded government leaders to do their best with what they have in the time they have to do it in. But this will never and can never be an all-sufficient method of bringing the shalom of God to the world.
The superior course of action is the responsibility of those who have insight into the redeeming methods native to the kingdom of God. Yes, I am loathsome to be a government man in these days, and I admire and support all those who are called, but my heart leaps to be a churchman. For here, I can spend my days actively pressing into the mark of God’s high call on my life: to bring his peace “which passes understanding” into the storms of people’s lives. Collectively, I believe that the world will be transformed, that systems will be healed as much as people, until “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and King.”
What is the world’s response to terrorism?
While I cannot speak for governments, though I am committed to and responsible for them operating with increasing integrity, I can speak for Christians. The Christian response must be one that leans into the opportunity of bringing the Good News of Jesus to broken people. But not as some fix-all soterian prescription that can be doled out by paper tracts. We need Christians, now more than ever, who are mature and fit for weathering life’s tragedies with the resolve of heavenly minded citizens. It is not a day to complain about the weather, about appliances breaking down, or relationships falling apart. Today must be a day that we value lost, perishing souls as an insufferable debt that we must redeem.
Today is a day that we do not wait for governments to offer solutions to responsibilities that are uniquely our own as Christians. We can no longer afford to abdicate responsibility to the corridors of legislation which only temporarily secure our peace of mind. We must exercise our evangelical roots in ever moving outward, and not by methods of invasion or intrusion, but through invitation, through actually being the greatest force for good and love on the planet.
Metal detectors, security details, and military efforts have prevented many deaths. But they can not cure the conditions within, nor can they completely deter the actions without. This is where the Church must continue to rise to her place in serving the world.
For every single act of terror, there are 100 acts of sacrificial love and kindness. The goal is not to shame our enemy, but to shame and expose evil conduct, both the violence of our enemy, and the violence within ourselves. Is the bomber with his finger on the trigger lamenting the 100 Christians who made his family dinner more than he is seething against the ideologies that stain his Qur’an? Perhaps the former would do much to relieve the latter.
I am not a government official, merely a churchman, but in this case, I believe that it is the Church that has the primary role in bringing the shalom of God to the nations. Let the government do what it is able to in so far as it has a responsibility to protect and defend human life. But even its best and most valiant efforts are inferior when compared to the supreme call of bringing God’s transformational kingdom way of living to the world.
Becoming lost in the minutia of politics, order, laws, even religious ideologies and collateral government atrocities, are all distractions from the supreme point: only Christians acting like King Jesus will ever accomplish what governments can dream of.
We must practice in the house of God what we need to export to the nations. We must get love for enemies right in the house first if we are ever to be expected to have traction in lands and cultures that are foreign to us. We must aggressively fight to dismiss the distractions of the enemy that would seek to get us wrapped up and engaged in superficial debate, and instead, plunge ahead into the depths of God which require us to be loving toward those who need it most: our enemies.
About the Author
Christopher Hopper is the associate pastor of New Life Christian Church and head of A&R for Sprig Music in Watertown, New York. He is the author of seven novels, eleven music albums, and helps fund church causes through business development.