I am often led to think that human beings have a different value depending on where they are from or the color of their skin. I grew up thinking that way because it seemed that the media made such a big deal when an Israeli was killed and would mention nothing about the many Palestinians killed. I grew up thinking that God liked other people more than He liked us.
I was very wrong. Heavenly Father loves everyone just the same, it is us humans that need to learn to love as He does.
Growing up, I longed to have a country and a nationality. As I entered the United States for the first time as a 17-year old carrying with me a Jordanian Passport (I am not Jordanian), and an Israeli travel document (I am not Israeli), the airport officer looked at me and asked: "What is your nationality?" I stared at him, stunned, unsure what to say. He repeated the question, this time slower, thinking I did not understand his English: "What - is - your - nationality?" Do I say I am Palestinian when I knew that was not a valid answer? My country no longer existed on maps and my nationality, identity and flag have been taken away from me.
Not having an identity, a passport, or a nationality bothered me growing up. I felt that somehow that meant I was not a human being. The way my people were treated day after day reaffirmed that fact and made me believe that God cared less about Palestinians and that He did not love us as much as He loved those with a different nationality.
After I joined the LDS church and developed faith in Christ, I came to understand and get a taste of God's love. I still don't fully understand it, because I still stand amazed that He would love everyone equally regardless of what they have done.
Charity is defined at the pure love of Christ. And Paul tells us that unless we have charity then nothing we do matters (See 1 Corinthians 13). We need to strive to have that kind of love towards everyone. Such love, with His help, is possible.
Everyone on this earth is a son or daughter of God. Everyone on this earth matters to Him. Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Iraqis, French, ISIS terrorists, EVERYONE...
I am often amazed at the atonement and what Christ was willing to suffer for us. What amazes me about it most is this simple fact...
The Savior, who has never experienced sin or guilt, knelt down in the garden of Gethsemane and took upon Him every sin in the world: murder, rape, deceit, robbery...In those short moments He saw what horrible sins humans are capable of committing.
The amazing part is that after He saw all that, He got up and went willingly to be crucified and to give His life for those sinners, for you and me. This is what Charity is, this is the kind of love you and I need to strive to have.
Here is the video that you may have seen from this little Iraqi refugee. This 10-year old girl teaches us about love, tolerance and forgiveness. When asked later why she shared these things she says: "the Holy Ghost told me to share these things..."
Click to watch the video with Myriam's message
Let us all learn from Myriam.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Said: "Darkness cannot drive away darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive away hate; only love can do that."
I hope that we all can respond with forgiveness and love towards any act of terrorism. What Martin Luther King says is so true. Hate will only destroy us. We must learn to love and forgive. Sometimes showing love is hard when others have taken away the lives of our loved ones or have destroyed our lives. But, the Savior promises He will help us and teach us to love...Mormon tells us that we can "pray unto the father with all the energy of heart to be filled with that love..." May each of us who have suffered because of the act of others pray for help to forgive them and love them.
The below video shows us the power of love. It is the only power on this earth that can scatter the hate and provide peace.
Gary Ridgway is a serial killer who was convicted of the murder of 48 women. Gary stood there in court as if he had no emotion while relatives of these women told him how devastated they were because of what he had done. It was not until one of the relatives of the victims said to him: "I don't hate you, I love you and forgive you...", that Gary broke in tears.
Video on Serial Killer: The power of love and forgiveness
I shared an experience about forgiveness in my ensign article, Sept 2012 issue...I share it again just because I keep feeling that the love of people is waxing cold. Even those who have faith in God tend to be wroth and let anger blind their sight. Forgiving others to me is liberating and I often feel like a load is taken away from my shoulders every time I forgive someone.
My Article: Loving My Enemies
I know that the Savior who knows how to love and forgive, can teach us to do the same. He is the source of all love and all hope and all peace. May we each follow Him and learn from His great example of Charity.
Elder Wirthlin said: “We should sow within our hearts the seed of charity, the pure love of Christ. He is the perfect model of charity. His total life, particularly his atoning sacrifice, is a lesson in charity. His every act reflects absolute, unequivocal love for all mankind and for each one of us. His example teaches us that charity means subordinating personal interests willingly and gladly for the good of others. I believe our progress toward exaltation and eternal life depends upon how well we learn and live the principle of charity. Charity must become a fundamental state of mind and heart that guides us in all we do.”