Another terrorist atrocity leaves the nation reeling, and once again people ask, ‘Why?’ Jeremy Corbyn says it’s our policies that have caused terrorism, and that we have brought it on ourselves.
Let us be absolutely clear that we utterly condemn anything that even hints at possible justification for such evil acts, and our hearts go out to all those who have been affected, whether by death, injury, or bereavement – but at one level Mr Corbyn is right. Our choices and actions, both as individuals and as a nation, have birthed the oppression, exploitation, and violence we now witness in society. Put it another way, and borrowing from the language of the Bible, we have abandoned the paths of righteousness, and chosen evil over obedience.
In fact, the reality is that on almost every issue we have rejected God, supplanting Him with our skewed adulation of humanity. In our arrogance we are reconfiguring life, whether designing babies, reassembling ourselves into the body image and gender we ‘choose’, or opting for euthanasia when physical wellbeing slips beyond our control. Life is no longer the gift of God, but rather commodity, to be used, discarded, or ended as we decide. The reality is that our lives today are full of cruel and hungry idols – lesser gods – who demand continual worship and will increasingly brook no rival.
So now we worship not God – but sex, money, music, the internet … along with every perversion known to man, and all bolstered by the limitless pit of faux emotion that insists we are wonderful, caring and evolved human beings, because we are tolerant of everything, except that which conflicts with the new Weltanschauung.
We have opened up the road to hell. We deny and reject God, and yet still expect that He will indulge and protect us. But no, it doesn’t work like that. When we turn our backs on God, He withdraws His protection. Which doesn’t mean that He wills evil, but He allows us to suffer the ‘natural’ consequences of our choice. So what we need now, more than anything else, is good, old fashioned, repentance. Because then, and only then, will we see God move in power to deliver us from the growing evils now bedeviling our society.
Which means that we must first face up to the truth, and not try and pretend that things are other than they are. Which brings us back to the latest terror attack. Many Muslims – maybe even the majority – are peaceable and want the things we all want. A happy family, home… fulfillment. But if you read the Koran, it is hard to see how Islam, with its repeated injunctions to slaughter the Infidel without mercy, can ever possibly be described as a religion of peace. At its heart is not love, but judgment and separation, and all who follow any belief system other than its own stand condemned. The terrorists’ cry last weekend of ‘This is for Allah’ reflects an uncomfortable truth. Allah is very far from the Christian understanding of a loving God, and if we willfully refuse to acknowledge that – whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, or no faith at all – we will have no hope of finding a solution, and of truly bringing about peace and unity. For real trust to grow, the Muslim community itself needs honestly to confront this.
But the current crisis facing British society goes far beyond ethnic and religious division, and has to do with our more fundamental rebellion against God.
The choice is blindingly simple. The Creator God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is, and always has been, sovereign, which means that nothing that ever happens is outside or beyond His control. He could wash away all evil in the blink of an eye, but His concern is our salvation, and that we become fully the people/beings He knows we can be – which makes it imperative that we live in relationship with Himself. The only lasting ‘cure’, therefore, is our repentance and rejection of evil; wherever and however it manifests. First then, at every level, we have to face the truth. About the underlying causes of so-called extremism – of course! But also, and profoundly, about our own life choices … our selfishness and immorality.
While we persist in rebellion, giving worship to corrupt and lesser idols, God will allow us to inherit the evil of our choices. But if we choose to try and follow Him – even when we get it wrong – then He will help. More, He will swamp us with love, protecting and guiding through whatever life throws at us! But for this to happen, we need first to acknowledge our need, ‘confess’ where we have gone wrong, both deliberately and inadvertently … and then try and follow what He says and get it right.
God is a loving Father, but He does not smile in fond indulgence at sin. When we reject Him and willfully flout the laws on which our existence depends, there comes a point when He steps back, and figuratively says, “Your choice. Inherit the wind.”