The tragedy at Fort Hood with the massacre of troops by the U.S. Army Major and psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan will take time to investigate to determine the motivations behind these murders. It is intensely tempting to jump to conclusions to blame or somehow justify these acts of violence.
The media has made much of the major’s work with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) among returning soldiers. There is speculation that his pending deployment to the Mid-east triggerd some sort of psychotic break and resulted in the murderous rampage.
Reports are now surfacing of the major’s apparent intense Moslem faith and that there may be a spiritual root to this sad event. This is quickly linked to emphasis by many that Islam is a peaceful faith and that the violence of some is an anomaly of sorts. Sadly this does not match the historic record or the reality that whole nations and regions of the world are under the spiritual sway of deeply ruthless adherrants to this religion.
Where does this lead us? Should we jump to blame the psychological reasoning? Should we either take the politcally correct approach and deny the violence of Islam? Or perhaps take a religious war approach embraced by some conservatives?
I believe it is a time to seek to “discern the spirits” as Scripture directs, to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare that impacts the political and physical. It is also time to look, not just to the acts or wrongs of a person or people but to their soul, created by one God. There is none of us exempt from sin, violence or fault. We are all called to be people forgiven by God, through our Savior, Christ Jesus. We are called to the peace of His Cross.
Centuries ago, again in a time of warfare a Christian broke ranks with the militant Crusaders and dared to approach the perceived enemy, not in a politcally correct aura of denial of evil or wrong, but in a outreach of the love of Christ.
St. Francis and his visit to the Sultan reminds of the urgent need for this living courage and faith as we pray:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.