Our eyes have been glued to our televisions watching the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. It now seems to be over – though our hearts are still broken for the families that lost loved ones and for the residents of Boston who will suffer the post-traumatic stress of this act of terrorism in their community.
Mitch Forman, our Vice President of U.S. Ministries and Boston director, wrote a brief piece about his feelings in light of what’s just happened, and I thought you might want to read it. I found his perspective to be personal, biblical and moving.
I am writing this letter minutes after watching the capture of the Boston Marathon Bomber #2. I was born and raised in the greater Boston area, and now I am raising my family here. This is the place I count as my home, the place where I do ministry and a place I love very much. Even though I left Boston in my twenties and thirties, I returned because all my family still lives here. My grandparents came here in the early 1900s as political refuges, fleeing those who hated them simply because they were Jewish. As a 3rd-generation refugee, I am forever thankful to the United States for allowing my family to come and start a new life.
I say this because as events have unfolded after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, I learned of the history of these two brothers, it resembled that of my family. However, they came to hate this country, whereas my family embraced it. They aimed to hurt and kill people, whereas my family aimed to make the country better.
As I was sitting here watching the TV like all of you, I couldn’t understand why these brothers would want to commit this apparently senseless act of violence. They knew most of the people at the time of the Marathon were there to cheer on a family member. They knew that many of the people present would be small children. They knew the face of Boston would change forever. When my own kids asked, “Why would someone do this?” I told them: “There are evil people in the world, and people who hate us just for being Americans.”
We live in a world where there is danger, and where people don’t have to believe in God. This is why I do what I do. This is why we must continue to share the Good News of Yeshua (Jesus). The only hope we have is to keep praying and reaching those who do not love us back. How appropriate it is for me to remember the words of Yeshua:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
It isn’t so easy to follow Jesus when asked to do things that go against your own nature, but this is what we are commanded to do. I was living in New York City at the time of 9/11, and now I live in Boston during these times. I had friends at the Marathon who were a short distance away when the bombs went off. I took both of these events very personally; however, Yeshua tells me to love those who hate me and pray for them. I said a prayer for the families who lost loved ones. I said prayers for those who lives have been forever changed. I even said a prayer for this young man tonight – that even though his brother died, he might live and come to trust in Jesus.