The world is once more reeling after the terrible bomb attack in Manchester. The impact of this attack is particularly atrocious because of whom it killed and maimed.
It was not indiscriminate. It was targeted at mostly young people, in some cases very young, who were out for a fun time.
It was an wicked act performed by twisted and deviant people who will find it goes hard for them when they come to give an account of their lives before God at the judgement seat. Those who take lives will be answerable to the boss of the universe. I would really really not want to be in their shoes!
As in all these incidents there is a colossal outpouring of emotion afterwards.
There are of course the angry cries, shouting for blood. It is a natural and human response. In the days after though, a local poet, Tony Walsh read a poem about the strength of the Mancunian people ending with the words that have reverberated around the world, “Choose love!”
It is right on the money! Love builds up and hate destroys. There are people who make a habit of hate, ready to pick a fight or an argument with anyone who has a different opinion to them.
It doesn’t matter what the subject they will take an opposite view, but in a vociferous and antagonistic way. The hate simply spills out of them eating away at their souls and causing misery to everyone around them. Hate overpowers everything.
The latest incident has sparked all kinds of hate language against the perpetrators and radicalisation is blamed.
But to mount a campaign in hatred means that you have been effectively radicalised yourself. Hatred with intolerance is the desired aim of these radicalised extremists, and every hate filled statement is another victory for them as much as another bomb going off as civilised society is taken apart brick by brick.
Choosing love is far from being the easy option. The point of Jesus story about the Good Samaritan helping the Jew that had been beaten up is all about sworn enemies helping one another and giving practical aid. But it does not mean we should not act against the perpetrators!
A Christian catchphrase is that we should hate the sin but love the sinner, or hate the evil done but love the person doing it.
It is not an easy thing to do but it is what we as Christians are meant to do and if others can share it then it helps to strengthen a desire to build up rather than destroy which adds to the positive fabric of civilised society.