Our world has been shook one more time. It's a story that seems to be repeating itself. Large gathering, bomb(s) explode, injury and death following. It never gets easier to see, more painful to listen to and enrages even more. This time, Manchester, UK. Another concert, this one just happened to be a pop singer - Ariana Grande.
As a person that can't comprehend this atrocity, upon learning of the bombing I wanted to know. I needed to know as many details possible to learn about the scene unfolding. In today's world, it's what most people do, turn on the news. I'm gripped by the scenes on my computer (I stream everything - no cable). More importantly, I'm broken by the thought of children being the target of this recent attack.
Initially, the dad in me kicks in. How could...better yet, what kind of coward would attack kids. I don't care if it was a 21 year old attending the concert with their mother, a 14 year old attending their first concert alone, or the 7 year old celebrating a birthday at a concert with their friends. These are kids, a future ahead of them brighter than whatever kind of pathetic life this person ever lived. I was enraged. Coward was the nicest name I could think of in describing this person(s). The anger and hurt vied for leading emotion in my head and heart. Justice being served in death for whomever did this started as a rally cry in my mind. Then, rational thought began to take over, especially in light the guilty was apparently dead. Yet, it was this rational thinking consuming me and truly breaking my heart.
Yes, the loss of 19 lives is devastating. More than 50 injured is senseless as well. Despite this, my response was understandable as a dad. But, as a person professing christianity, I'm not sure it was the right response.
See, as I understand it, we should mourn the loss of life. All life. Every single person that passes over to the other side is meeting their eternal fate. And it is there that we who believe are to be concerned. Where are they spending their lives eternally. All life, all people, coward or not, innocent child, parent or grandparent and everyone in between. Gone. And I was more concerned about retribution.
Wow! I failed. But, God brought me back around. My heart aches for Ariana. I'm pretty sure there is a level of guilt she feels. She shouldn't, but she will. I can't imagine my child missing, the feeling of not knowing where they are, if they are anywhere. Yet, there are parents lost without their child by their side. They probably feel guilt as well. Sadly, they will probably feel that guild the rest of their lives. My heart breaks for those parents. There are children in a hotel room with strangers caring for them. They are being cared for, but it's not their parents. I'm pretty sure they couldn't sleep or eat, and certainly are scared. Tears are welling in my eyes when I think about these poor children. Life isn't fair to begin with, and then going through something like this is beyond comprehension.
Then, there is the perpetrator. My human self is glad. My faith led mind and heart breaks for this individual as well. I'm not inclined to believe they are in heaven tonight. Sure, they could be, and I won't say definitively it's impossible. They had a family as well. Their family will never see their son/daughter/husband/wife ever again, just as the victims families will never see their child/parent/spouse.
But, what is more troubling to me is the response of other christians. Sure, they'll post on social media, text their friends and call their prayer chains about praying for Manchester. Yet, they will just as quickly show their anger towards terrorism (which they should) and how we need to eliminate every radical muslim. They'll share how no reasonable parent should take their 6 year old girl to see someone who said they hate Americans. They'll judge Ariana as not being a great role model for girls today. Just remember, pray for the victims. The double standard will be set and reached in a matter of minutes.
This double standard is what truly disgusts me. I reiterate, every life matters. The coward, the young and old. Every single one. Terrorist, peace maker, believer or not, they matter. A fact that many christians conveniently forget when it comes to things like this. Maybe, just maybe, one day we'll learn.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the Manchester tragedy.