As the news unfolded about the terrorist attacks in Paris, my mind went back a few decades to when our air and naval forces were dispatched to launch air strikes against Libya in response to terror attacks against Americans during the Reagan administration. Before the attack on Libya, the United States asked the French government (along with the the governments of Spain and Italy) for permission to fly our F-111 bombers over French airspace, a request that was denied. As a result, our bombers had to fly around France which added many more hours to their flight time on their way to and from Libya.
In 2001, I recall seeing images of French citizens cheering on 9-11 when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. As it is in our own country, most of the French veterans of World War II have passed away. The generations that followed seem to have very little regard for the sacrifices made by Americans liberate France from Nazi tyranny.
Now that they’re on the receiving end of Islamic terror attacks, the temptation is to gloat. I’ve already seen a few disparaging comments on some internet message boards, along with a lot of indifference. But we’re Christians. We cannot be indifferent to this. And the Bible clearly tells us we’re not gloat over the misfortunes of others. Proverbs17 verse 5 warns us:
….whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
And Proverbs 24 verses 17 and 18 tell us:
Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
While the French are certainly not our enemies, the friendship between our two countries has been strained for quite some time. Many in this country do not care since it happened “over there”. But as I said, we’re Christians. We’re to be different. Our response is not to be like that of the unrepentant. As Paul wrote to the Philippian church, our gentleness is to be evident to all. What’s in the past is in the past. We’re called to be salt and light, and right now that nation and its people need our prayers. That is the Christian thing to do.