As I am writing this article this morning, I am remembering those who perished on September 11, 2001. Do you still remember where you were on that day? I was at the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas in a classroom full of preachers. We were sitting and listening to our professor, Dr. David Allen. All of a sudden, minutes after the first plane flew into the World Trade Center building in New York City, an employee of the College came in and said that class was dismissed and all students and faculty were urged immediately to leave the building and go home. He reported to us that the plane had hit the building. Not too many minutes later my entire class was in the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop and we were all huddled around a little black and white television set when the second plane hit. At that point, tears began to stream down the faces of some our students. Hearts were pounding realizing that this was no accident but it was an intentional strike against the very heart of the United States of America. Then the third plane went down in Pennsylvania and the fourth at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Terror filled the air, but there was something else that filled the air.
Just as we were being ordered to leave the College, we began to pray out loud. Several students prayed. Faculty who were still in the building prayed with us. Administration was urging us to leave at one point but then they prayed as well. As prayer filled the air, one-by-one we prayed that God’s blessings would be upon the families of those affected by this terrorist act. Then, what seemed so out of place at the time, a faculty member prayed God’s blessings on the families of the terrorists. We prayed in agreement. As difficult as it was, we prayed in agreement.
We prayed that God would somehow reach those families with the Good News of Jesus Christ who truly is the Lord of lords and the King of kings. We prayed that salvation would come to each and every one of their children, parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews. We prayed that we in America would be able to forgive those men for what they had done. It was difficult to pray such a thing. However, after we finished praying, our professor quoted a verse that has stuck with me ever since: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Over the last eleven years, whenever I think of what happened on that day, I have to remind myself what it is that God has done through His precious Son, Jesus Christ. By His death according to the Scriptures our old man has been put to death. By His burial our old man has been left behind. By His resurrection our new man has come to life – life that is eternal and abundant. If for no other reason than what Jesus Christ has done for us, we ought to forgive these homicide terrorists. If for no other reason, we ought to pray for those who seek to harm us. If for no other reason, we ought to turn the other cheek and sing praises to our God; for to suffer for His name’s sake is but for a while, then we have eternity with Him.
September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. Those who perished that day will not be forgotten. Let us not forget what sacrifice was made by Jesus Christ. This sacrifice was not just for us, but for everyone, including those would-be homicide bombers and terrorists. To Him be the glory for the great things He has done.