By Timothy Gamble (April 25, 2019)
The horrific Muslim terror attack on Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter, 2019, resulted in more than 300 people dead, and 500 injured. In this tragedy, there are important lessons to be learned. Here are seven lessons from Sri Lanka:
1) The world is highly dangerous. This one should be obvious, but for many people it isn't. The need to believe we are safe and that bad things won't really happen to us is a deeply rooted psychological need. It even has a name, cognitive dissonance. We simply don't like to believe things that make us uncomfortable.
2) Christians are in no way immune from the dangers of this world. Many Christians feel that their being Christian somehow makes them safer. This is not a biblical attitude. In fact, the opposite is true. If you are a traditional, Bible-believing Christian, you have a target painted on your back. In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul writes "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Jesus himself said "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name" in Matthew 24:9.
3) There is a war on Christians, and people are dying. Despite what the political class and the mainstream media wants you to believe, Christians are by far the most persecuted group of peoples in the world. There are active genocides going on against Christians in Africa and the Middle East, and Christians are heavily persecuted, and even murdered, elsewhere. An Islamic silent invasion is occurring in Europe, and Western Elites are working to undermine our Christian foundations. (Read my articles Anti-Christian Persecution Sharply Increasing Across the Globe and The Three Existential Threats To America and Western Civilization for more on the War Against Christianity.)
4) Bad things can happen even when you least expect it. One would think that attending an Easter Service at church would be a safe thing to do. But bad things can and do happen anywhere, at any time. We must always be vigilant.
5) We cannot depend on government to protect us. Turns out the government of Sri Lanka had prior intelligence of a possible terror attack targeting Catholic churches being planned, but failed to act on that information. Apparently this was because the country's President and Prime Minister, political rivals, were not sharing information or cooperating with each other. Currently each is blaming the other for the lack of response to the prior intelligence.
6) Christians must be aware of their security needs. If we cannot depend on the government to protect us, that means we must be responsible for our own security. We want our churches to be open and welcoming to the larger community, but this tragedy and other recent events have shown we do need to think about security also. It will be a balancing act, but one that we need to do.
Security cameras covering the entrances and parking lot are a good idea. Money really isn't an excuse. A multi-camera CCTV system with DVR recorder can be had for around $200 or less (here's one such system on Amazon). Most churches cannot afford paid security, but perhaps they have police officers or military veterans in the congregation who can act as armed security during services. Other aspects of security should also be implemented, such as having emergency exists clearly marked, having first aid supplies (and folks who know how to use them) on the the premises, and creating a well-thought out emergency response plans.
7) We must be prepared to respond to emergencies and mass causality events. Political correctness and TV shows like Doomsday Preppers have given prepping and survivalism a bad name in recent years. Yet, disaster preparedness planning is seriously conducted by big businesses and government agencies, and it needs to be conducted by Christians in both our churches and our homes. It is not pleasant to think about, but it is reality.
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