"Serving Others in the Face of Terrorism"


Editorial by Norm Nelson - President and Speaker


September 11. 2007

The 9/11 tragedy brought sharply into focus the international political environment in which Compassion Radio now works and serves.  People who are aware of the global focus of our organization have often asked me to comment on the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Here are a few thoughts of mine concerning this terrible event as we look back on it today.

First and foremost, we, at Compassion Radio remain profoundly saddened by the horrific acts that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. We grieve for the victims and families of those who have suffered so greatly as a result of this reprehensible deed. May God bring comfort, peace and healing to all those who are still in pain today.

Second, I have read, or heard, from several commentators, the following remark concerning the significance of 9/11: "On that day," they say, "The world changed." I think I understand what these people are trying to say. However, in the strictest sense, they are wrong. The world didn't change on September 11. What changed was that the reality of the world finally began to penetrate the United States of America.

For many years, Americans (Christians included) operated under the illusion that we were somehow immune from the harshness that most people in the world experience on a daily basis.

Consider, for example, that EVERY DAY 25,000 people in the world, the vast majority being children, die as a result of polluted water. That's 25,000 yesterday, 25,000 today, 25,000 tomorrow ... and on ... and on ... and on ... Every 3 seconds a little child dies.

Every day war, political oppression, fear, violence and intimidation, homelessness, poverty and hunger stalk the lives of innocent people on virtually every continent. Every day they experience the reality of an unredeemed world. Every day for them the goodness of living is hard to see.  On 9/11, through a vicious attack, that reality intruded into our seemingly protected universe.

So, what GOOD can come out of this evil? Perhaps the answer resides in the Psalmist's prayer: "So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

Stephen Mitchell's expanded rendition puts it like this:

     "Teach us how short our time is . . .
      show us that all things are transient,
      as insubstantial as dreams,
      and that after heaven and earth
      have vanished, there is only You."

That's a message that urges us to focus on eternal priorities in a world where material things are temporary, and where our time is short. Learning that lesson is what it means to "gain a heart of wisdom".

For the most part, we Americans have not been wise. We are preoccupied with 'stuff'. We are absorbed with the pursuit of money and material security. Even ministry objectives often revolve around 'statistical success'. Comfort and convenience have robbed us of the will to sacrifice. Adventure in God's service scares us.

Perhaps, now, having watched steel crumble and lives evaporate into dust, we'll begin to get serious about God and His purposes. The primacy of eternal priorities: that's the essence of wisdom. Maybe the good that will come to us out of this evil will be that we'll gain a heart of wisdom.

Then, a third and final comment: Our all-too-natural, but understandable inclination toward revenge has the potential to undermine the Christ-like spirit that our Lord requires of us. It can also poison our attitude toward Muslim believers.  Brother Andrew, whom we deeply admire here at Compassion Radio, exhibits the attitude I believe we should cultivate in ourselves.  "When you think of Islam," he says, "think I Sincerely Love All Muslims."

He's right.

Those who profess to follow Jesus must love all those whom He loves. The Good News is not cancelled by evil acts. It works for good by the grace of God.

At this time . . . in this moment, we need the transforming power of God's good news more than ever.

May His love and peace guard your hearts and minds today.

Norm Nelson

Compassion Radio/Compassion Radio is a unique Christian activist ministry heard on 100 stations across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and on the Internet.

CR focuses on Compassion Outreaches in poor and needy countries, reporting on stories of courageous ministry in difficult and dangerous countries, and on encouraging suffering people in repressive countries through its Human Rights Agency, “The Courage Coalition”.

The ministry has built and/or supported three orphanages -- in Hong Kong, South Africa, and Egypt -- and assists partner agencies with dozens of “Compassion Projects” around the world.

Compassion Radio ministry directors, Norm and Cher Nelson, have between them traveled to more than 150 countries. Most recently, they have been in such places as Kosovo (during the war), Macedonia, Gaza and the West Bank (during the current “Intifada”), Bosnia, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Peru and Colombia.