The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, has called on people to love their enemies and pray for them after London’s terror attack.
In a statement released after the terrorists’ murder spree in the capital’s centre, the Rt Rev Snow said, “The Bible talks of us not being given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline.”
But the question many ask is, Can you love someone who wants to kill you? When you think about your “enemy,” you most likely have feelings of anger, and anger can lead to hatred. Love does not develop out of anger or hatred.
Rev Snow said, “We may feel angry at what has taken place. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We must use our anger to motivate us to redouble our efforts in building strong relationships with all those with whom we live and work, proving that we stand together.”
What does it mean to love our enemies? Loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us is hard. How are we supposed to love our enemies sincerely? Are we really supposed to pray for people who hate us? For people who work against us? For people who want us to fail? It seems almost impossible.
Police fired an “unprecedented” 50 bullets to kill the three London Bridge terrorists because they believed the attackers were wearing suicide belts, the country’s head of counter-terrorism said.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said a member of the public also received a gunshot wound in the hail of bullets from the eight officers.
Seven people were killed and 48 injured in the attack, with 21 fighting for their lives in hospitals. One eyewitness spoke of the men shouting, “This is for Allah!” as they stabbed indiscriminately.
The attack came out of the blue and out of the night. Beneath the shadow of The Shard, Europe’s tallest skyscraper, shortly after 10pm, a white B&Q van being driven at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour mounted the pavement at London Bridge and ploughed into pedestrians, knocking people down.
But in spite of this, Rev Snow believes we can mitigate terrorism and hatred with love. He added that after the third terror attack in the UK in just three months it “would be easy for us to give in to fear and the temptation to blame others.” But, instead, he called for love, calm, and a “measured response.”