You could only imagine how many times in a week (or day) I get asked questions like “Do you think we should bomb Iran?” Or… “Do you think Iran is going to get nuclear weapons and then will bomb Israel?” Or… “Why do the Muslims get so angry when we accidentally burn their Qur’an and yet they seem to feel free to burn our Bible?”
I remember being in southern Iraq a few years ago and the bus boy at the hotel where we were staying looked at me with large brown innocent eyes and asked “Sir, why do the Americans hate us?”
Actually in 30 years I can’t count the times when an Arab Muslim has asked similar questions. “Why do you want to take over the world?” They ask. Or… “I don’t understand why America doesn’t care about Palestinians who are being killed?” And… “Do all Americans love their family the way you do? Because I have never heard of such nice Americans before.”
Funny how this works. Lack of understanding usually goes both ways. And misunderstanding between potential enemies is dangerous. When we don’t personally know someone we can easily fall into fear. And fear leads to all things bad.
I remember early on during our Lebanon years a family saying to Chris and I that they could never become Christians because they LOVED their family. That meant, that what they thought of Americans/Christians (which they see as the same thing) are only people who don’t love each other. Who get divorced. Who send their kids off to colleges far away when they turn 18 (like we’ve done). And they – being good God fearing family oriented Muslims – could never do that.
So back to the questions. Why do they seem to hate us? Want to kill us? Bomb Israel?
I think the answer lies in our ability to see clearly. Before we answer, are we 100% sure the log is out of our eye? It’s interesting that Jesus said to take the log out of our eye before we help take the speck out of the others’ eye. He could have said it the other way around. I am always willing to admit I have a speck in my eye and that you have a log in yours.
Then, walk a mile in their shoes before trying to answer these kinds of questions. Try to think of something like this – what if a Muslim army of Afghans were in our country to liberate us from some internal tyranny. They were honestly trying to help us by being here. They set up checkpoints everywhere that we had to go through – it was for our own security. And mostly they DID kill the bad guys in our midst. Gang members. Criminals. People who go on shooting sprees in our schools. They did kill those. Of course, sometimes while doing that, they also killed some kids at the school. Or some businessmen downtown Denver when they were trying to take out some gang leaders of the Bloods. But mostly they were good. Well there was that one time when they accidentally bombed the wedding at our local church and killed the bride and groom and wedding party. But other than that….
Force yourself to think that way. It’s a good practice. Think this thought – if I had grown up in a Muslim family, which had been Muslim for maybe 1400 years, and I was proud to be Iraqi or Afghani, would I be confused to wake up every day to American troops outside my window doing their morning drills? What might I think if I were that person?
It’s tough to take the logs out of our eyes. The others DO have specks in their eyes and we need to help them be free of those specks. We just can’t do it if we have a log poking us in the eye.