Nearly ten years ago, I had just dropped my son at school and come home to get ready for work. As I do every day, I turned the television on to watch the news while I had my breakfast. Within a few minutes, the first reports of Tower 1 being hit were telecast. As I watched the reruns of it, I watched live, Tower 2 hit by the second plane. I became mesmerized by what I was seeing and decided to stay home, closer to my son, as I watched, all day, the world change before my eyes. I knew that our way of life would never be the same.
I wondered and worried about what to say to my son when he came home from school. Little did I know that the teachers decided to let my nine year old watch the same telecasts all day long. He was surprised when I picked him up from school instead of letting him walk home and when I attempted to tell him about what had happened, he very nonchalantly told me that he had seen it all day and, yes, it was bad, but it wasn't as big a deal as I was making it out to be. Oh, to be nine years old again!
As the days and weeks went by, the world continued to change, as I knew that it would. Immediately, we all flew our flags and we were united in a way that I don't know that I had ever seen before in my lifetime. After all, I grew up with hippies, Vietnam, and Watergate. Our years had been about doing our own thing and doing what felt good. All of a sudden, it was one for all and all for one. It was nice, but I had to wonder just how long it would really last.
Unfortunately, we became more pious and self-righteous. We divided in every way possible. The right-wingers and the left-wingers moved even farther in both directions. Everyone claimed that what they were doing, they were doing because God was on their side. The interpretations of the Bible made us rigid and angry.
It reminds me of the Pharisees that Jesus scolded and rebuked. Remember how they created more rules to build themselves up, to make themselves rise above the crowd?
Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples, "You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws! And of course you should obey their every whim! It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don't follow their example. For they don't do what they tell you to do. They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don't even try to keep. Everything they do is done for show."
"The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted."
"Woe to you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders. Hypocrites! For you won't let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and won't go in yourselves. And you pretend to be holy, with all your long public prayers in the streets, while you are evicting widows from their homes. Hypocrites! Yes, woe upon you hypocrites." (Matthew 23: 1-5,11-13).
I haven't been privy to all the Intel and expertise that our government officials have been so I cannot say for certain that what has been done to "protect" us was really necessary or not. There are people much smarter than me to determine that, but my question is this: have we crossed the line and become more like the Pharisees than like Jesus?
Don't get me wrong, I am happy that we don't have to worry about Osama bin Ladin ever again, but I'm afraid there is already someone who has replaced him. Yes, he was the leader of the group who planned and carried out the attack on our country and I am glad that he has been removed, but I'm feeling a little uneasy with all the celebrations about his demise. When do we cross the line from vindicators to barbarians? I think we need to be careful!
An old friend shared these verses today. I believe they are important to ponder: