Ten years ago this month, hate and violence resulted in horrific acts by a group of terrorist elites, who felt slighted somehow by the United States.
They attacked our country and our people, killing thousands and damaging not just buildings and lives but our very sense of safety.
On Sept. 11, 2001 they ripped a hole in the fabric of our being.
It was an awful, terrible, ungodly and very sinful thing to do.
On the streets and in the town squares and living rooms of America and throughout the world, there was an amazing coming together in the immediate aftermath.
There was a great and wonderful outpouring of love and concern for the victims; people helping people touched us in amazing ways.
Love was in the air. Heavenly power's way of doing things took over the hearts of us everyday Joes and Janes, and we were moved to tears by the power of it. Compassion reigned.
People ask, where God was on Sept. 11, 2001? The answer is God was there calling us to our better way of helping and caring and coming together, and God was there in all the love that resulted from our heeding that call.
We dropped whatever may have bugged us about each other and came together. We forgave past differences and we loved our neighbors as our selves.
In the wake of a dark disaster was this great light. Out of the tragedy came beautiful love and stunning sacrifices people made and gave for strangers.
We can still sense God's presence ripple in time from the pure compassion and caring shown.
We can also sense God's presence in the sense of horror that still ripples in time.
It's the voice of God telling humans to stop senseless violence, most especially violence fraudulently claimed to be on God's behalf.
And if we listen carefully, God's voice is also calling us to something we may not want to hear.
It's God's voice that Christians hear through Jesus if they listen. It's a voice telling us to forgive.
Jesus was very clear on the matter: Christians are to forgive. Jesus tells us this in all the Gospels. And he practiced it himself.
One of the last things he does on the cross is pray that God forgive his executioners.
And the first thing he tells his followers after the resurrection is, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
We may not want to forgive, but it is where Jesus calls us, even in 9/11.
It is a call to forgive, not to forget, but to forgive.
And if Jesus is right, until we forgive, those sins will not go away.
The Rev. Scott Elliott is pastor at Riviera United Church of Christ in Palm Bay. Visit Riviera UCC's website at rivieraucc.org.