We Have Seen the Enemy, and It is Us
Today is September 12, 2001—one day after the most tragic mass-murder in United States history. Yesterday, we watched in terror as four commercial jets veered from their charted courses and became weapons of mass destruction wielded by ruthless hijackers. As of this writing, the exact number of dead and wounded is unknown, but it has been estimated that it likely will exceed 5,000. Grief, pain, suffering, and anger are but a few of the words that describe our emotions. Within many hearts rests a penetrating desire to see those responsible for these acts of terror brought to justice. After all, what kind of monsters would attack innocent and unsuspecting men, women, and children? And when these villains are apprehended, what sort of punishment do they deserve?
A similar situation, accompanied by similar questions, was posed to King David almost 3,000 years ago, during the time that he was concealing his adultery with Bathsheba. The prophet Nathan visited him with a simple story to tell. In Nathan’s story there was a rich man who owned large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Near the rich man lived a very poor man who owned but one small ewe lamb that ate from his table and “was like a daughter” to the poor fellow. In the process of time, a traveler visited the rich man. Wanting to feed his guest, but not wanting to take a sheep from his own flock, the rich man took the poor man’s beloved lamb and slaughtered it for his guest. After hearing Nathan’s story, “David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!’ ” Upon hearing this judgment, Nathan declared to David “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-7).
So what do the stories of David and the tragedy of September 11, 2001 have in common? Simply this: since January 22, 1973, the lives of approximately 36 million innocent babies have been viciously murdered in this country under the auspices of legalized abortion. Where is the President’s speech condemning those who are guilty of such villainous crimes against these innocent, unsuspecting victims? Where is the voice of sorrow and anger echoing through our nation? Where are the countless thousands of military personnel being mobilized to bring these perpetrators to justice? The answer, of course, is, nowhere. We, like David, should be enraged at the crime committed on September 11, 2001. But we also should realize that in a single year’s time (and it has been going on now for over twenty-five years) our country slays more innocent lives than have been lost in all terrorist acts and World Wars combined. Truly, the Proverbs writer did not speak in vain when he declared that the Lord hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (6:17)—our hands, or those of terrorists.