I grew up in the Deep South in a time when racial discrimination was all around me. I was blessed to be raised by two parents who treated everyone equally. They saw everyone simply as a child of God. We were all related.
I did not personally experience discrimination until I lived in Germany in the early 70s. Some people pointed at me, made obscene gestures and yelled out “stupid American woman.”
I was truly baffled by it. I had done nothing to them. They did not know me. But they judged me by the group with whom I was associated. They hated me because I was American and I was a military wife.
A German friend later tried to explain it to me. She said, “You have to understand. The Americans killed their grandparents and they grew up learning to hate Americans.”
“But, “ I protested, “The war ended a long time ago. I had nothing to do with killing anyone.”
She said simply, “They were raised to hate.”
September 11, 2001, was a day that no one would want to repeat. What happened was horrific. We are being encouraged to remember and not forget. However, we should be very careful about what we choose to remember.
The young nurse I referenced in my last post ended up moving with her family to another location. Even as American citizens, they had to live in fear.
We should not use September 11th to open old wounds and reactivate fear and hatred. We should not use it to judge and stereotype people. We should not use it to raise our children to hate.
We should remember those who lost their lives. We should pray for their family and friends who carry the scars of grief even twenty years later.
We should remember those who were enemies that day. We should also pray for their families and friends, who grieve. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
We should remember that violence never happens overnight. Even at this moment, potentially future terrorists are being born into hate. We should pray that satan never gets a grip on them … that they will experience The Love of God and only reflect that Love back into the world.
We should remember the courage of those who rose to the occasion on September 11, 2001. They put their own lives at risk to save others. Some exited this earthly life trying to protect others.
We should remember the way Todd Beamer prepared for battle. He prayed and reached out through the phone, imploring a total stranger to speak The Word of God with him. And it could be heard in the background that others were joining them, claiming The Promises of God.
We should remember that those who resemble the enemy in physical appearance, race or creed are not the enemy. We should never become terrorists ourselves by labeling, stereotyping, or judging.
We should remember that The Light still shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.
We should remember we have been born into this time to be Light bearers. When you tell others about September 11th, tell them about the courage, faith and love that sprang up from the ashes.
Yes .. remember September 11 … and plant seeds of Hope for the future.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it!