The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, left a scar on the history of the United States that president Franklin Roosevelt prophetically said would be a “day that would live in infamy.” As Japan feigned diplomacy, their armed forces treacherously attacked.
But it is etched in my memory as a historical event, though it happened more than ten years before I was born. I did not actually experience it. September 11, 2001, was different, I remember where I was the day it happened as I watched the breaking news reports on the television in the break room at work.
There are differences, though civilians did die in the Pearl Harbor attack it was primarily an attack on a military target, 9/11 was a civilian target. That one fact makes 9/11 exponentially more evil than the attack on Pearl Harbor, at least in my own mind.
Last week the memory of 9/11 was reflected on with the passing of its anniversary. It is still fresh in America’s psyche and will be a day that will live in infamy also. I do not hate those who perpetrated such unspeakable evil, but do believe in bringing the ones responsible to justice.
One thing that should be clear is that our freedom needs to be ever guarded. George Washington said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and 9/11 should serve as an exclamation point to what Washington said.
But 9/11 was an act of foreign terrorism, we live with domestic terrorism in the ongoing mass shootings we are a witness to here in America. Some fault the rise of mental illness and think we need to improve backgrounds checks, others think we need more restrictive gun control laws.
While these differences will be debated and played out politically such acts of violence are an ever-present witness that evil exists, and evil cannot be legislated away. Nor can we explain evil. Acts of violence are more visceral than cerebral and defy logical explanation. It is what makes evil so profoundly so, it makes no sense.
Evil seems to easily find its way into the human heart. Believers attribute this to man’s inherited sin nature. Jeremiah tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. And the apostle Paul echoes that truth when he writes, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
Evil in mankind is a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual remedy. Christ has provided that remedy through His sacrificial death, and can cure the wayward when we are willing to turn from our sin and in faith to Christ.
There are people who believe that man is basically good and do not believe evil is spawned by our fallen nature, but like the rest of us, they still lock their doors at night.