Travel expert Rick Steves shared this graphic on his Facebook timeline.
To me, it expresses an important message on this day when we grieve the senseless loss of life perpetrated by ISIS. The object of terrorists is to incite terror, panic, and fear in people. Such reactions are understandable. But when we alter our lifestyles to accommodate the possible actions of thugs and bullies, they win and we lose.
I'm not suggesting that either individuals or governments act stupidly. When the devil tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem to see if God the Father would catch Him, Jesus refused. He told the devil that it isn't right to test God. So, people and governments need to take wise precautions in the face of the terrorist reality.
But if you're planning on traveling by any means, if you have tickets for a major public event, if you have to go shopping, or if there are things you need to do to live your life, I say do them.
If we let the terrorists intimidate us, we risk wimping out in one of two ways:
- Acceding to them and not doing anything or
- Turning free countries into sterile, lifeless armed encampments
Both are fearful prospects fueled by fear which would change the fundamental qualities of living in a pluralistic democracy that includes both majority rule and a fair regard for the minority.
There are many things that give rise to Islamic-based terrorism. But among them is the palpable fear that potential terrorists see in free societies when terrorist acts do occur, something that offers them the possibility of feeling powerful. The fear of free societies is one of their greatest recruiting tools.
Terrorism must be fought on many fronts and in many ways. One of the ways is for we who value freedom and the sanctity of human life not to let fear get the best of us.
Like any other human being, I fear many things. But my faith in an eternal God Who raised His Son Jesus from the grave and promises a piece of His resurrection victory to all who repent and believe in Him, helps me to put my fear in perspective. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, for the Christian, death is not the worst thing that can happen.
In the weeks prior to September 11, 2001, my daughter and I were trying to decide whether to book a flight to Germany. September 11 was the deadline we had set for making our decision. We booked the flight that night because, we said, we didn't want Osama bin-Laden making our travel plans for us.
God has given you life. And if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you believe that God has given you life with God that never ends. So, live.