Terror made its way to American streets again this week in New York City.
The weapon? A rented pickup truck.
The result? Six innocent people died instantly. Two additional people died later from the injuries they received.
The suspect is a 29-year-old man from Uzbekistan claiming the Muslim faith who was “radicalized domestically” according to authorities. He became sympathetic to ISIS and learned about the terror group’s tactics right here on our shores. Although he acted alone, he left a note in his truck saying he committed the barbaric attack in the name of ISIS.
As Christians, how are we to think about terror attacks like the one that happened yesterday in one of America’s greatest cities?
First of all, worldview matters. Bad ideas, more often than not, eventually become bad actions. For whatever reason, this man chose to entertain the radical, violent ideas of a radical, violent group – and eventually, he acted on them. It is because of this that Scripture admonishes believers to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Only then will you “be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Which leads me to the second point: while reports from the scene state that he shouted “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is Great,” before he was shot and wounded by police, this man did not follow God. Acts of evil never come from our good and holy God. The Christian God is unique among all gods, for He alone is true. The God of Christians does not endorse the taking of innocent human life. This is why, as Christians, we have the responsibility to share the life-giving, heart-transforming, world-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, pay no credence to the people who are increasingly mocking calls for prayer in the aftermath of a tragedy like this. Yes, we need to act. Yes, we need to serve.
But yes – we also need to pray.
Pray for the victim’s families and pray for our country. Pray the Gospel will reach men and women who are vulnerable to radicalization.
And please pray for peace.