Word of the Boston bombings hit Twitter before they hit CNN or any other news network. And as the video clips of the bombings began to emerge, my heart responded in shock and horror. Our hearts are wired to respond to atrocities like this, whether we’re near or far from the scene. Humans are complex creatures with a remarkable range of emotions, even at the same time. The Bible helps us understand the right way to react, and in the midst of tragedy, I want to respond appropriately. But I also know a simple response will not do.
Here’s something of a play-by-play of my own heart-response from yesterday afternoon and evening and today, and I’ll post my thoughts not as a model to be followed but maybe to help you identify the complex experiences you’re feeling today.
Shock — My first response is to acknowledge this is not the way it’s supposed to be. I feel shock mingle with anger. Adults should not have their legs blown off. And small children should not be killed on sidewalks, or anywhere (Isaiah 11:8–9). Something terribly wrong has occurred in Boston.
Vengeance — I soon find myself here. I know God will not let this bloodshed go unpunished (Romans 12:19). He is loving, and he is also just and will not let murder, or any other sin, off the hook (Numbers 14:18). He has raised up civil authorities to put down such egregious wrongdoing. It is out of my hands, but I pray the perpetrator(s) is/are captured quickly and brought to justice (Romans 13:3–4).
Prayer for the victims and the families — Images from the crime scene break me and lead me to pray for the injured. And I pray for the families of the dead.