Changing the Enemy
This past Christmas’s theme of peace on earth was a bit interrupted by the extremist Muslim dude trying to blow up a plane. What is often overlooked in such conflict is the need for changing minds. One news item that didn’t get nearly enough press was what happened in Libya. Officials of the Libyan government, which once sponsored terrorism, met with imprisoned Al Qaeda affiliates and learned to understand them. Then they convinced the terrorists that blowing up innocent people was not nice and that this activity should stop. The terrorists eventually denounced violence, were released, and are now propagating across the Arab world a concerted message of peace and reconciliation.
I wonder if the US spent more effort changing hearts, we might have more long-term success than we seem to have using guns.
I also wonder if in our own culture, wars between conservatives and liberals, Christians and those hostile to the faith, we could learn a lesson. I’m not talking about useless, politically correct “dialogs” but rather understanding why people think and behave in hostile ways and addressing the root issues. When I look Jesus, He tended to go to the root causes of issues in people’s lives. Could we do more of the same (even if we’re the ones who need to change)?
Admittedly, with some people no amount of effort will ever produce positive results. But I suspect most of us could learn a lesson from both Jesus’ approach and from what the Libyan government did with its now-former terrorists. I can sure learn.
We can practice this kind of understanding and getting at root causes of problems with people in our own lives. And we can pray for those, like the terrorists, who are beyond our personal influence.
How might that happen in your life?
PRAYER: Jesus, give me eyes to see the roots of evil and of problems in people who surround me, so that I may be Your agent of overcoming love.
“All of a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the Lord evaluates the motives,” Proverbs 21:2 NET.
Today’s devotion is by Peter Lundell, author of Prayer Power. A rising new voice on connecting with God, he is a pastor, Bible college teacher, and conference speaker. Visit him at www.PeterLundell.com for his inspirational “Connections” and free downloads of articles, parables, short stories, and book chapters.