My heart goes out to the people of Norway today.
Whenever an act of terrorism occurs --whether by extremist groups or simply individuals-- the world grieves. It is an act that attempts to prey on our fears and force our hand by using the most extreme tactics available. The act of terrorism doesn't just end with the explosion. The resultant shock waves ripple across the world in the form of hate, misunderstanding, fear, and condemnation.
When extremists act, their actions paint an image of the larger group as well. This is true in any situation. Their views are cast upon all who identify using the same words as they do. To name only a few: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, environmentalist, pro-choice, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat. Each of these words creates a very distinct view in our mind. Yet within each group, there are a multitude of views. A vast multitude of differences.
Why is it that while extremists are a very small population of an ideology, they seem to represent the whole of it? Must we burn down a whole field --wheat and all-- to get rid of the weeds? It doesn't make much sense to me.
Our response to terrorism needs to be a response filled with love! Help the people of Norway and grieve with them. Denounce violence in all its forms. We need to stand together and say "This is not who we are! We are not a people of violence and death, but a people of life and hope!" We are still called to treat each other justly and with mercy!
I pray that people across the world will understand that there is good all around us. Each grouping I named above --Christian, Muslim, liberal, etc-- contain people who seek love, happiness, and an equality among all peoples. Do not let the destructive voices of a few taint the entire world.
I pray for Norway that if this does prove to be an act of terrorism, they will be able to respond in a fashion that uplifts its people and is void of violence.
God be with those people who died, those who were injured, and with their families during this time.
Blessings and Peace upon everyone.