September 12, 2001
God bless the dear people at the New York World Trade Center, at the U.S. Pentagon, and in the four hijacked airliners. God bless the brave firemen and firewomen, rescue workers, and police. And God bless the families, the colleagues, the friends, and the nation. Having been only a few blocks from the World Trade Center throughout the entire time of the two attacks and the first two building implosions, I join in encouraging all people to pray for all those whose lives were touched by this tragedy, to provide whatever tangible support and aid possible, and to pray for the perpetrators of the horrible acts of terrorism. 
In Christ we all are made new, each day, each moment. As Paul writes:
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. Our message is that God was making the whole human race his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends. (2Co 5:17-19, TEV)
As if speaking to the terrorists, Paul continues on to write:
Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:20,21, TEV)
Since we are "a new being" in Christ,
Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death?... Nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35,38,39, TEV)
This is a solid basis for reassurance, compassion, and strength. It is also a solid basis for 'forgiving anything we may have against anyone' (Mar 11:25), which we know to be a prerequisite for and crucial element of prayer.
I am reminded of when I served as a juror in a murder trial. As a juror my civic responsibility was to judge the evidence. As a Christian my responsibility was to pray for everyone involved, including the one who had died, the one on trial, the families, and the community. My silent prayers included repeated Christian forgiveness of the one whom we ultimately determined by the evidence to be guilty, and those prayers for him and all others continued long after the trial had ended. 
Those who planned and carried out such acts need to be brought to justice, need to recognize their horrendous crimes, and need to be appropriately sentenced for their terrible deeds, but we individually still need to forgive them. In such forgiveness, as "a new being" in Christ -- a Christian's true reality -- we can celebrate that in Christ we and all those dear ones mentioned above are not subject to any power other than God. Rather than being victims, "We have complete victory through him who loved us" (Rom 8:37, TEV), just as Christ Jesus had complete victory over the evil of his persecutors through the Father's unceasing love. Evil is powerless in the presence of the omnipotence of God, who is Love -- and in the presence of His children’s living representation of God’s love.
G.B. Caird described this victorious love in his wonderful commentary on Saint Luke (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963, page 103-105), where he wrote about the "Law of Love" taught by Jesus in Luk 6:27-38:
The men who were bidden to love their enemies were living in enemy-occupied territory, where resentment was natural and provocation frequent. They were not just to submit to aggression, but to rob it of its sting by voluntarily going beyond its demands. To those who believe in standing up for their individual or national rights this teaching has always seemed idealistic, if not actually immoral. But those who are concerned with the victory of the kingdom of God over the kingdom of Satan can see that it is the only realism. He who retaliates thinks that he is manfully resisting aggression; in fact, he is making an unconditional surrender to evil. Where before there was one under the control of evil, now there are two. Evil propagates by contagion. It can be contained and defeated only when hatred, insult, and injury are absorbed and neutralized by Love... 
Grateful for God's love for us all,
Bob Nguyen Cramer, BibleTexts.com
 The building on Wall Street in which I was working at the time is still standing, but the impact of the airliners crashing into the World Trade Center towers and those towers later coming down was thunderously felt and heard by all of us in that building. It was as dark as midnight outside after each of the towers imploded. Daylight was completely blocked by the airborne debris, which roared through the canyon-like streets like a tornado and contained what none of us could ever have imagined.
At around 2 p.m., after making my way to a pier near Wall Street, I took an evacuation ferryboat to Hoboken, New Jersey. When the ferryboat left the dock, none of us was certain where we were going to land. All we knew was that it was headed away from the World Trade Center and to New Jersey. As part of the decontamination process, we were required to walk through a car-wash like tent where a special multi-directional sprinkler sprayed us down with what appeared to be water.
Throughout the week, a thought that has been repeatedly coming to mind is that God is the only true power to which we all are subject. Frequently praying the Lord's Prayer has also continued to provide me with a reality check.
 Several months after the jury trial, I began serving as a Christian Science prison chaplain in one of the most violent cities in America. I continued to pray in this way, while also helping inmates to see the necessity for honestly exposing, acknowledging, and repenting from their grave wrongs and to seize the opportunity of finding a new life and true reality in Christ. Within three months of my beginning that ministry I discovered that I had been completely healed of a very threatening physical condition that had persisted and deteriorated for over ten months. (I was very seriously struggling with that condition during the aforementioned trial.) God is the great Healer, which my forgiving prayers for inmates helped to make plain in my own life.
 More of Dr. Caird’s explanation of Luk 6:27-38 can be read at http://bibletexts.com/terms/agape-c.htm. His commentary on Saint Luke is out of print, and very difficult to obtain.
To explore other relevant links, browse "Overcoming violence, terrorism, and revenge" at
Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer