A Shadow Over Paris & the World

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Throughout history, evil has flourished under many names and several causes. Leaders of various empires, countries, or groups have declared war. Seemingly, their only purpose in life is to rule over or kill the other people in the rest of the world. Without any signs of remorse or conscience, they take lives that are not their own.

This is about control. This is about instilling fear into the hearts of millions. This is about their legacy of dominance. This is about a bully relishing in victory. This is about the lack of light in an increasingly dark world.

But why does this evil persist? Why is there a shadow that covers the Earth while there are so many who want to live peacefully?

There are two directions I thought about taking this.

First, I could mention the general battle between good & evil, dark vs. light. It’s in all of our movies & books…for the most part. A hero and a villain. Defenders vs. Conquerors. Autobots fighting Decepticons. The only question for us as individuals: Which side are you on?

But there’s no denying these two sides exist while we argue over what is right and what is wrong.

I suggest, long before the human race began to flourish, these two sides were at odds with each other and it has undoubtedly spilled over into every culture in society. It all begins with a choice. And there’s no way to kill every “evil” person in the world because they’ll always be replaced by someone else, which leads me to my second point while still asking: Why does evil persist?

I was watching Fox News shortly after the tragedies in Paris took place. They quickly began to suggest that the U.S. President along with his administration is not doing enough to fight terrorism and if we would have had a Republican President, this probably would not have happened. I sat back on my couch and thought, “Over a hundred people just died. Over 300 injured. And you want to turn this into a political jab?”

It happens all the time between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Something terrible happens and people look to gain an advantage over someone they don’t like in the midst of it all. We are supposed to be the good guys. We are supposed to be the ones defending freedom, peace, not only in the U.S., but all around the world. But we can get so caught up in gaining a position for ourselves, the real problems get ignored and are never solved. Then, innocent people suffer for it. Instead of worrying about who gets the credit for success and the blame for defeat, let’s focus on solving these problems. If light and dark look the same, who can tell the difference?

I am concerned about the direction of our responses to terrorist attacks. This isn’t exactly the Cold War or another World War. Yet, every country can be effected by the spread of ISIS. You can’t simply drop bombs or carry out a nuclear strike and expect a peaceful end. The enemy is mobile, yet, it lacks the typical structure of a military force. And it’s not one country openly sponsoring terrorism. Though, a few countries may have their hand in this, albeit, indirectly. This is an ideology being shared on social media to every part of the world.

You don’t have to be born in or even visit the Middle East. You don’t have to be trained by a high-ranking member of ISIS. You simply have to agree with their cause, no matter where you live in the world. And THAT is the problem! It’s an allegiance to an idea…a belief. If this ideology isn’t attacked and defeated, no significant progress can be made.

Of course, the question is: How do you attack an ideology like this one? To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s a negative way of thinking. Mentally. Emotionally. This battle is won in the hearts and minds of people. But how do you change someone’s heart, someone’s mind? How do you replace an ingrained hatred with overflowing love?

I wonder if they can be reached, still, with love. I wonder if you show love to them…will it soften their hearts? Some, probably. Others, probably not. Then, how do you tell the difference between whose heart can be softened and whose heart is simply too cold?

I think we, as people, should ask God for help.

Now…before you finish rolling your eyes, hear me out. I say we should ask God because He can see in us. He knows the truth. I feel He’s the only One able to replace this level of hatred with love on such a grand scale…in the hearts of thousands at one time. It’s been talked about on the news that the amount of people springing up to do harm to others is overwhelming the authorities trying to keep up with them. And we don’t know when a new person just decides to join this cause and carry out some plan on their own. We can’t see everything…everyone…at any given time (although, we try). Quite frankly, God can.

I’m not concerned about people saying, “Oh, you’re trying to bring religion into this.” I’m trying to keep people alive. When those in Paris could not go to a concert, a restaurant, a soccer game, without putting their lives in danger, it became a problem too big for us to handle on our own. When you have bombs going off in the middle of a match and no one begins an evacuation because the fans aren’t aware, we need help.

For those who don’t believe a God exists to help us and focus solely on practical resolutions, I’d say Intel needs to improve. If someone’s on the radar as a potential terrorist, they don’t need to be in the country. We also have to accept the fact that terrorists are hiding in plain sight. They are a part of local communities in order to move around without limitations. But you also can’t place everyone of the same race or religion in a box & say they’re all alike. Some will value life while others won’t in any case. Which makes it much more difficult for authorities to weed out the bad.

You may ask: “If God did exist and He was willing to help us…how would He do it? What would He do?”

To tell you the truth, I think God helps us regardless of whether we believe in Him or not. However, it’s not as obvious as we would like (i.e. opening up the sky). Some people are chosen to defend us. That means, somewhere along the journey of their lives, they developed a passion for what they’re doing now. Whether it’s becoming a Marine, an FBI agent, on a Special Forces unit, a private investigator, they discover their purpose for being on this planet.

Whereas I would quiver on the frontlines, they have a drive, a determination to push forward. Your family doctor doesn’t run at the sight of blood, while many others cringe. There are people especially concerned about us having clean teeth. Others aren’t particularly afraid of flying military aircraft into another country. Everyone has a part; we are all a piece in this gigantic puzzle. When we ask God for help, it’s essentially for Him to help us do what we do…better. More efficiently. There are times when we try the best we can and still fail.

When it’s your duty to protect a country, you’re doing the best you can, and something horrific still happens, it’s okay to ask for help. I may be weird because I talk to God mainly like I talk to anyone else. Is there something I missed? Did I mess up somewhere? What’s the best way to respond? I don’t have the answers all the time. Or, something terrible happens, my emotions get in the way, and I end up doing something reckless.

I don’t completely understand or know how to explain the existence of God. But I felt near to Him while I watched this video last night, posted by CNN on Twitter. As I listened to them sing…it’s as if Love & Peace sat there in the midst of a chaotic environment. And we, as people, can sense it in our hearts. Somehow, someone invisible becomes tangible. That’s how I see a glimpse of Him. -ecj

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