This article may appear out of step with regular themes viewed here on faith and family, however there may be none more relevant. For out of the slime of this story, what do parents teach or tell their kids?
Modern atheists deny the existence of evil. Seriously? Many don’t believe in a good or a dark supernatural realm. Really? Then what unfortunate mix of time + chance + matter produced the kind of act that targeted as many young girls as possible for shock value?
That was the desired effect of the suicide bomber and terrorist plotters that killed twenty-two and injured over fifty in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017.
“It’s intended to shock,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and an authority on the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Manchester assault. “You get maximum fear by attacking a vulnerable population: kids.” (www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23 Insidious Twist on Terror Attack Victims: Teens and Young Girls with Mothers in Tow).
So out of the darkness of this story, what do parents teach or tell their kids?
For example, one mom who took her unharmed but concert-going fifteen-year-old daughter to a vigil the next day said, “I brought her here because she needs to process what has happened. She needs to grieve. This is the world we live in now. We have to face up to it.” (www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24 Manchester Bombing Investigation Focuses on ‘Network’)
That seems like a good, even wise, starting point. This is the world we live in now. We have to face up to it. Let’s aim to solve a bit more of the detail behind how to do so.
There is no intention to point fingers at ideologies here. How could I single out one ideology after spending several years on an anti-slavery education and awareness team, learning that the evil of men from all ideologies and backgrounds fuels the human-trafficking world. It fuels it with an increasing diabolical demand for adult slaves, youth, children…and infants.
Jesus describes what it will be like on earth when He returns to bring everlasting peace and justice.
Matt. 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
What was it like in the days of Noah?
Gen. 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Does that sound like the world we live in now? Does that not sound like men desiring little children and going on business or vacation trips to seek them out? Does it describe the diabolical desire to mutilate, disfigure, and destroy the innocent?
The first thing I said to my class of 11 and 12-year olds on Tuesday May 23rd was that the attack certainly makes our track-and-field season seem less important. It definitely puts our six days of standardized testing into a different perspective.
But let me clarify as I did with them: those are a few of the things that make life worth living and give it value. But sometimes we are so caught up in our devices and activities that we don’t take the time for the important questions.
Questions like: What would happen if I died in such a tragedy or other accident tonight? And Why does such evil exist?
Why Evil Exists
Evil exists because humanity chooses it. Lucifer became the devil and author of all lies and deception when he disobeyed God. Humanity often chooses disobedience to God as well. Often humans that choose good get caught in the pathways of those choosing darkness, and consequences for them also ensue. It’s quite simple and rational: objections from God-skeptics or even worse—haters—can easily be answered.
There is also a spiritual realm that surrounds us. I liken it to a fourth dimension. It consists in the light waves we cannot see, outside the visible spectrum. It exists in the sound frequencies that we cannot hear. Put that way, it sounds a bit more scientific than supernatural.
Some are not comfortable with supernatural talk, but don’t fear. If you don’t call upon its dark side, it cannot harm you. If you call upon the Creator, you will be sheltered.
1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Teach your children that evil exists and they cannot even dabble in it. Teach them that there is an objective standard of good, and they must seek it.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
What Happens if You Die This Very Night
Being involved with students, I like to tell the exciting possibilities for the next chapter of our lives ‘colorfully.’
- Gold represents a perfect eternity, paradise, or heaven that only God can provide. A place where we should desire to reside.*
2. Black is the evil or sin that separates us from our Creator, preventing us from attaining that Paradise.
3. Red represents the solution to that separation…the blood of Jesus Christ – the sacrifice to pay or atone for our sins. A sacrifice wholly acceptable to God.
4. White represents how God now sees after accepting this sacrifice…washed white and clean and pure as snow.
5. Green is the growth that we display as we progress in our faith – by learning the Word of God, talking intimately with Him, and being with other believers like a large family.
By accepting the red color and what Jesus has done for you, you must turn away from your sins and put your trust in Him. Then you will be restored to God’s family and receive that perfect eternal paradise. Your life here might not be easier, but it will be more filled with joy, peace, meaning, and love. You will have peace and answers when those epic or less violent or disappointing incidents occur.
If you put off or refuse to accept Christ’s sacrifice, then you are willingly choosing some of life’s filth and depravity. Possibly not to the level of the stories referenced here, but sin and shame just the same. And the Bible describes the eternity beyond that to be even worse.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These are the truths we need to share with our children. The world in which we are living is both beautiful and evil, because people choose both the good and bad.
As with any tragedy, stories of redemption are coming out regarding the events in Manchester. This is a result of the common grace we share in being made in the image of God. Yet we are fallen and depraved in our sinfulness, causing this epic and ongoing struggle between good and evil.
Choose God and you can face life with God living in you through His Holy Spirit.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(*some might not be interested in this Paradise due to their misconceptions of it e.g. they see heaven as a place of ethereal clouds, golden streets, or unfavorable activities; they need to be educated that when Jesus returns, there will be a renewed and restored perfect earth, where abundance abounds and violence is absent, where even bears and lions can be hugged, and thorns, weeds, pain and unpleasant labor are no more Isaiah 2:4; Rev.21:1-4)