“Please, tell us what happened?” Ryan was one of my 4th graders. He and everyone else in that classroom knew something was up. Over half the class had left for the day already, and there was still an hour left of school. One by one, as the children’s parents would come, I would send the children home, without asking a question or (gulp) making any mention of homework. But he knew something was wrong, and insisted on being told. So I told 12 ten year olds what happened that awful morning.
It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
And I never forgave them for causing me to have to do that. For having to watch this kids as a bit of their innocence died.
Today it is September 11, 2014. I was praying for safety and peace this day. When I heard that still small voice say, “and forgiveness.” Say what?!!??!!
And suddenly it hit me. I never forgave them. To be honest, it never even crossed my mind that I should forgive them. How do you forgive that?
- Forgive them for the lives they took on those planes.
- Forgive them for the lives they took in those buildings.
- Forgive them for the lives they took from the first responders.
- Forgive them for the wives whose husbands would never come home.
- Forgive them for the grooms who would never again see their bride.
- Forgive them for the mothers who would never again hold their child.
- Forgive them for the child who would never know their father.
- Forgive them for the one who lost their best friend.
- Forgive them for the businesses that lost all their best employees.
- Forgive them for the innocence that was shattered that day.
- Forgive them for taking away our freedoms.
- Forgive them for instilling fear in our hearts.
- Forgive them for the lives of our armed forces that have since been lost. The contractors, the ambassadors, the civilians…so much blood.
I think somehow I thought that if I forgave them that it was saying that what they did was okay. And it’s not. It never will be. Perhaps I thought that if I forgave them, that it would humanize them a bit. And I don’t want them to be humanized. They are ugly horrible monsters.
…that are in desperate need of a Savior. In the end. If I don’t forgive, the only prisoner is me.
I will not live my life in fear.
I will not live a life of hate.
I will not live a life of anger.
They will not win.
Love. Grace. Mercy. Peace. May they reign in my heart.
And so today I said the words I’ve never said before, “I forgive them.”
“Seek peace and pursue it” Psalm 34:14b.