|Matthew 5: 44|
The lessons of life one can learn while listening and letting someone speak... are priceless!
I recently met a man who shared some of his travel experiences with me.
He mentioned meeting the head of local government in a country identifying wholly as Muslim.
This government chief had heard that a white Christian man was in the area visiting orphanages, and desired to meet with him.
This man says the first words from the chief was “You and I are supposed to hate each other.”
The man responds “Why?”
“You are a Christian and I am a Muslim. Aren't you here to tell us that we are wrong?”
The next three hours between the man and the chief were spent building a dialogue on many different subjects resolving to a better understanding where none previously existed.
The chief had never met a 'white' person, nor a Christian, before.
The likenesses that the two shared helped bridge the gap of perceived unreconcilable differences.
The man also shared how his local driver, whom he spent several days chatting with as they traveled to different places throughout the country, was moved by their conversations and the man's activities.
At the end of the visit, the driver exclaims “I have learned that I can love Jesus and also love Muhammad.”
The man and myself further discussed inter-belief dialogue and how previously held misperceptions can be corrected through love, patience and the effort in finding similarities between parties.
The driver also mentioned that his wife was part of a an Al-Qaida sect of Islam, and that mentioning some of the conversations with the man would be problematic.
The man eventually met the driver's wife, and he mentions seeing her visibly having a challenge when meeting him.
There were many lessons the man learned from the driver, the chief and the visit overall.
I mentioned how easily we, as human beings, are sometimes taught certain things which would cause us to prejudge others, having us arrive at ill-conceived conclusions and hampering our learning.
I mentioned how children can be taught to mistrust, dislike or be suspicious of identities or people having different views than theirs... and these ideas are perpetuated for generations.
All that we as human beings know are things taught, and thus learned, but is dislike or hate inherent in a child's mind or heart?
Hate is taught and learned.
Love can also be taught and learned... and love triumphs over all things.
Love breaks through ideological strongholds, fear and perpetuated hate of others.
Why and how is this possible?
Because God is love.