As much as I remember the horrific tragedy of this day 19 years ago, I also remember the incredible unity and respect for each other in the days following. Unfortunately it was short lived, and almost non-existent today. Jesus followers should, even in this crazy year, be shining examples of what unity, compassion and respect should look like. Not because of a national tragedy, but because of a bloody execution cross more than 19 centuries ago. With that supreme sacrifice Jesus endured grotesque injustice yet asked the Father to forgive those who executed Him. The traitor who turned on Him with a deceitful kiss, Jesus called friend.

At ground zero on 9/11 there were no politics, no insults about our differences. Tragedy caused by the worst of humanity revealed the best of humanity. Jesus bore the injustice of humanity’s worst, to give all who believe in Him access to the best humanity can ever hope for. God’s love and mercy.

For the Jesus follower, every day is ground zero at the foot of that cross. Every word and deed should be a reflection of the selfless love and sacrifice Jesus modeled. On the day they executed Jesus, Simon Peter denied Him, cursed and acted in opposition to everything Jesus had taught him to obey. Yet through the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter changed.

The Spirit-inspired words of a man, who couldn’t control his own mouth, challenge us today to leave the worst of humanity at the cross. It’s time Jesus followers hold each other accountable to honor the eternal ground zero.

There’s no room for retribution, or insult at ground zero of the cross. There, by faith, we lay down the worst to inherit the best. Following Jesus transformed a spineless loudmouth into the spokesperson for courtesy and respect.

Does the evidence of ground zero of the cross reflect in our words, deeds and actions? Look back at your social media feed. Think back about your conversations and activities. Compare that with the example of a loudmouthed fisherman who was changed by ground zero.

Are we?

1 Peter 3:8-9, 15-16 (NET)
8 Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing.
15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you.