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Why It’s Important To Remember and Pray After Tragedy

candle for prayer

image by Bangin via Creative Commons

In our age of social media, news floods our computers and phones as much as it has flooded the television and radio for as long as we remember.

An acquaintance made a post on Facebook saying that she really didn’t care about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I’m deeply saddened by her attitude, but I also recognize that she has been desensitized, and what is essentially copied and pasted by everyone has much less meaning to someone who already doesn’t care.

But it made me think. Why do we make those comments on Facebook or Twitter? I think most people do feel genuine sympathy for the victims and want to express it. I imagine that there are a few who just say something out of a vague fear that if they don’t, people will wonder what is wrong with them. (You didn’t repost that picture of a candle? Don’t you caaaare!?) There are some who are careful to focus on the positive, such as on the good work of the first responders. However you respond personally, here are a few of my thoughts on why it is important. (I tried writing this as kind of non-partisan, but failed, so these are obviously my beliefs.)

  1. It’s important to remember our mortality. This life we have is short and can be gone in a moment. I believe that there is an afterlife, an eternal heaven and hell. There is an instinct in many of us at these moments to want to hold your loved ones close. It’s a perfect time to thank the Lord for your family and friends. I only have one friend who works in the Boston area, so one of the first things I did was check for a Tweet, then breathe a small prayer of thanks for his life. For those of us who know the Lord, it’s also a reminder that we have people in our lives who need to hear about Him.
  2. It’s important to remember the helpers. There is a lovely quote from Fred Rogers about “the helpers.” I’d be surprised if you haven’t already seen it via social media this week. In addition to prayers of thanks, it’s important to pray for everyone in the area. Many lives have been irrevocably changed, and some lives were lost. The victims, their families, and the first responders—so many people need prayer right now.
  3. It’s important to hold accountable those responsible. Obviously, no number of Facebook posts will help find the evil ones who are responsible for this tragedy, but showing support for the law and the nation are still important. As the months go on, people in our government will have to make decisions about how to treat the perpetrators; those people need our prayers, too. I read one comment that said we need to be forgiving. My response is that individuals should be forgiving, but governments need to protect people from war criminals. Terrorists must know that America punishes those who kill on our soil.
  4. It is important to not mis-place blame. Whoever is found to blame for this, there are some things we know: it was the act of a few, they are to blame, those who support them are to blame, others who belong to the same race or religion are not. Our righteous anger should extend only as far as genuine blame and never be used as an excuse for racism or fear-mongering. We don’t like it when the actions of a few are used to paint us with one brush; we must not do the same to others. The vast majority of people are horrified by these kinds of things and realize that we are humans first, and despite constant efforts to cheapen life, most hold it precious.

So, those are my non-professional opinions. I hope you take a few moments to pray today.

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