Love your Neighbor as Yourself – Part 1
When I first came to Canada at the age of 17, I was put in an ESL class (English as a Second Language) and so, one day I was sitting with an Iraqi classmate who was drawing a Swastika, and our teacher (who was a Jew) saw his drawing and got upset with him. I didn’t understand why she got upset, and so, I told her, “Ms., he is just drawing, what is the big deal?!” I think my comment made her even more upset, because in lunch time as I was sitting in the library another English teacher who knows me came looking for me.
He talked to me for a couple of moments about why Jews hate Swastikas. I had known that Hitler was a “bad guy” and all of that, but I had no idea he targeted Jews specifically. You see, in the Middle East a lot of people deny the Holocaust so children grow up not having an idea it happened (but again, some even deny that the U.S. landed on the moon, because the moon is supposed to be so sacred, that nobody can land on it! Go figure!)
I actually admire Jews greatly. Just few months prior to coming to Canada I wanted to become a Jew (that was in Jordan and I was 16), because as I read the Old Testament for the first time, I had my first glimpsed of what it means to walk with God and have a personal relationship with Him. Until today, almost 10 years later, I find myself understanding God’s ways better when I read the Old Testament and observe how He acted in the lives of the Jews. So, I certainly didn’t hate Jews because I grew up in a “Christian” family and I was not taught as a child to hate Jews; I simply was ignorant of their struggle in WWII. To be honest, the first time I ever met a Jew was in Canada. And now I even have Jewish friends.
A couple of years later in High School, we had an assignment in English class and that’s to choose a topic from a list and read certain books about it. The Holocaust was on the list so I chose it. In the next months I read many books such as, Diary of Anne Frank, Night (by Elie Wiesel) and Schindler’s List. I cried through all the books, especially The Diary of Anne Frank, and then I watched the Movie Schindler’s List. It was a black and white movie except the red jacket of a little girl.
A couple of weeks ago as I was searching for some classical music on YouTube and knowing what an excellent violinist Itzhak Perlman is I came across this music from the movie, Schindler’s List. I remembered the movie and so I decided to photograph a red flower—after the red jacket of the little girl in the Schindler’s List movie–as tribute to the survivors of the Holocaust and in remembrance of its victims.
Of course, the more I got to know our Lord Jesus Christ the more I realized how evil some men in the world can be, and how blind the rest of us can get. I not only learned to empathize for the hurts of the Holocaust survivors, but also to take time to think how it feels to be living in the shoes of present day victims such as the ones in Palestine, and the rest of the world. The more I got to know our Lord Jesus, I realized He not only loves everybody, but He loves everybody the same. Yet we, Christians, show favoritism toward certain groups of people while completely turning our attention away from the hurts of others.
I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ and children of the God Most High that favoritism does not fit who we are, just as much as racism does not.