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It has to do with fear. One of the most often repeated commands from God in the Bible is “do not fear.” The idea is: Yes, the world is dangerous. Yes, there are people who would hurt you. And sometimes the bad guys will seem to be winning… But do not fear. Your God is bigger than life and death and the things trying to hurt you…
So this Christmas day a disturbed 23 year old Nigerian man attempted to ignite an explosive device that a senior official at Homeland Security described as “more incendiary than explosive”, with 80grams of PETN (an explosive that came into use a hundred years ago, and now used as heart medication, and some types of ammunition) – in hopes of causing enough disruption to cause the plane to crash… He failed. So what should we learn from this?
Unfortunately, the message a lot of people are pushing for is: be afraid, be very afraid… I think that might just be the wrong message. John Wesley, a Christian teacher, when asked why he would put himself in such dangerous situations (traveling to outer parts of the New World) answered, ‘Until God calls me home, I’m immortal.’ I’m not trying to make a case for why you shouldn’t fear – although if I were, I might quote one of my favorite movies, “vivir con miedo es como vivir en medias” (a life lived in fear is a life half lived)… Instead, I just want to clarify what Jesus’ position is on terror.