London is returning to normal after the shock of yesterday's attack in Westminster. It's not just the brutality of modern terrorism that leaves us sick. It is its simplicity. Gone are complicated bombs and guns. The weapons of choice are your car and your kitchen knife. Bringing death and fear is now accessible to all. All that you need is the will to do it.
Inevitably today there have been words of sympathy from Muslims across the UK. It is inevitable that when an act like this is committed in the name of Allah, then people will think that Allah is to blame. He isn't. The problem is the human heart.
Jesus said “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-23)
The evil that we saw on Westminster Bridge was not imposed upon the perpetrator. It came from his heart. Nor was it simply the result of his religion. Most of the atrocities in the 20th century were committed by atheists. When you have no God to govern your behaviour, then morality is up for grabs. Which means that because of the human heart, the strong brutalise the weak and helpless.
Even Christianity has been used in the past as an excuse for people to indulge the evil desires of their hearts. To kill others. To abuse them. To preach hate instead of love.
However, there is a difference between Christianity and Islam. When you study the texts that they are based on, the Koran and the Bible, you will find that Islam can be imposed upon people. It is a word that means "submission". This is why the Koran legitimises violence as a way of propagating Islam. And why in most Muslim countries is it a crime to convert from Islam.
Whereas Jesus was unique in saying to his followers: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:43-44)
That is not something that my heart wants to do naturally. That's why Jesus is in the heart changing business. He does that by His Spirit as the good news about him is preached. He brings people to understand that he wasn't just the one who told us to love our enemies, he loved us when we were his enemies. He went to the cross to die for the state of our hearts and all that we have done as a result. And as he died, he practiced what he preached.
"When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father,forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34)
Only the one who loves like that has power to deal with the evil of the human heart. And therefore, until he returns rule his world in all his glory, we will have terrorist attacks.