My guess is it was just about 25 years ago, sitting here in a different chair behind a different desk, but in the exact same spot here in our basement, I was writing a book of meditations for junior high kids. The news that morning was that some damnable gang of Islamic militant thugs had boarded a cruise ship, picked out a Jewish hostage and killed him--him alone, the end of terrorism finally being simply more terror, I guess.
I was writing out part of that story that morning because, in light of the Bible verse I was illustrating, it made perfect sense. But I remember thinking, sitting right here, that by the time the devotional book would be released, that particular despicable act would have been trumped by a dozen others with more extensive casualty lists and that no one would possibly remember--a year or so hence--a Jewish man in a wheelchair murdered on a cruise ship. In a year, at least a hundred others would be sliced and diced by other bloody, fiendish terrorist monsters.
I'm sure my crystal ball was working that morning. I'm sure I was right.
Last week there was another horrific, unspeakable act. Ten members of a relief team who'd just returned from a medically-underserved Afghan village so remote that just getting there would have been a project even if it weren't a war zone--those ten people, including Cheryl Beckett, above, Christian professionals who'd given up their own practices and lives to serve the Afghan poor, some of them having been there for years and years, aid workers armed with a hundred toothbrushes for people who'd never seen them--those very selfless saviors were brutally murdered by the Taliban, who bear no resemblance whatsoever to anything even remotely called "human." To call them animals is bestow vastly more favor than they deserve. We don't really have words to describe them--even vermin is too kind.
"They were Christian missionaries," one of the Taliban brayed, "and we killed them all."
Honestly, I hope every last one of them is even more viciously murdered. I hope they get their just reward. If I were at the controls of some airborne drone and I knew where they were perched, I would take the greatest human pleasure in steering that weapon down and killing them all, spraying their guts like a bloody fountain over those craggy Afghan mountains. Watching them die would be sheer pleasure.
Love your enemies, Christ said. Love your enemies.
Give me a break. I know better. I'm human.