Yesterday three Parisians jumped out of a car, ran into the office of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and opened fire. When their bullets were satisfied, they ran back to their car which was still parked in the street.
On their way out, they shot their assault rifle at two cops in the street. Both died.
In the BBC video, the assault riffle is startlingly loud.
Do people really do this? In daylight? With assault rifles?
In all, they killed 12 people.
Charlie Hebdo is notorious for making fun of everyone. A few years back, they made worldwide news by publishing the Danish cartoon caricature of Mohamed. They regularly slander Jesus, the Pope, and their own President.
The gunmen were enraged, but not justified.
The magazine had provoked them, but they did not deserve this.
What now? If the murderers can be found, justice must be served. But even still, justice is only bittersweet, because justice cannot fix what happened yesterday.
The only resolve here, I believe, is God’s love. As Christians, this is what we are able to offer. This is what the world doesn’t have.
Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, tells the story of speaking in a church years after the war. She spoke of the freeing power of forgiveness. After she had finished, a man who had personally held her prisoner came up to her. He confessed that he had since become a Christian. Christ had changed him. Forgave him.
The once nightmarish soldier asked her if she would forgive him, too. She confessed that she almost couldn’t do it. Her sister had died there. Too many holocaust horrors were flooding her memory. Then she remembered how Jesus had forgiven in her, and she was able to forgive him.
I’ve never lived through anything close to that. But I’ve had people do harmful things to me before. I’ve lived for years with bitterness and resentment. After a while, I began to think that justice wouldn’t be enough.
It was only when I learned to forgive–sometimes it was daily–that I began to have peace again.
It’s not of ourselves to match evil with good.
For this, there is only the power of God.