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A child asks his father, a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, soon to be deployed to Syria, “Dad, why are there terrorists in the world?” The father prays for words his 10 year-old son needs to hear.
“Billy, God wants everyone to get along with one another, but sadly there are people filled with too much hate. They learn how to put others down from those who refuse to let go of their hate. Son, they hold on to that hate, like it is their badge of honour.
Billy is puzzled. He can’t understand why anyone would want to hold on to their hatred, like it was something to be proud of. Why would anyone want to hurt someone else, and be happy about it?
Billy’s father sees the confusion in his son’s face. He asks God for guidance to help his son know why there is so much hate in this world.
“Billy, you love your brother, Jim-Bob, but you still have fights with him. You don’t always get along with each other. You and your brother have your times when you don’t see things the same way. Billy, that’s why there is too much hate in this world. Too many people have not learned how to get along with one another. They think their way of seeing things is the only way. It’s like when you and Jim-Bob say awful things to hurt each other. Sometimes, both of you get too stubborn to forgive each other. You are both sure you are right. Son, in those times your mother and me have had to step in, so you and Jim-Bob stop saying mean things to each other.
Terrorism lives because there are people filled with hate, who refuse to resolve their differences. They attack and kill each other. This makes God very sad because He is a God of love, not hate. Many people say the reasons for terrorism are more difficult to understand than this. Billy, don’t be too hard on yourself for not understanding everything I am teaching you about terrorism. There are times I shout at God and ask why He allows things like hate and terrorism. The most educated of people can never give the full answer to these tough questions. How could we as human-beings understand why God allows terrorists to kill innocent men, women and children? We would have to have the mind of God to know the answer to these really hard questions.
Your grandfather was 11 years old when he listened to a man named Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King say, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” He worked hard to get people to believe we could have a world without hate – a world where people are no longer judged because of the colour of their skin or their religion.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did his best to teach us to love one another. Son, he looked at the hate that was within him, because of how black and white Americans were beaten and killed by those who refuse to let go of their hate. He asked God to take away his hate, and put love in his heart for his enemies. That was a tough thing to do when he saw his family, friends and church members hurt by people, who hold on to their wrong ideas about others. Son, this is called ignorance.
Billy is no longer confused about why terrorists like ISIS exist. He promises his father he will try harder to get along with Jim-Bob.
The mother drives the father and two sons to the airport, where the father’s flight group are all assembled waiting for him.
The father hugs Billy and his 16 year-old son, Jim-Bob. He kisses his wife. She leans her head close to her husband, crying as he squeezes her tight.
The husband waves to his family at the top of the stairs leading into the airplane. The plane takes off.
Six months later while Billy and Jim-Bob are playing a James Bond 007 video game, the doorbell rings. The husband’s wife answers the door. Captain Jim Thornton is standing there with a grim expression. He is the leader of the flight group of her husband. He tells the wife that her husband, Commander Matthew Harrington , has been killed by ISIS gunfire.
The husband’s wife, June, stands there in shock. Her heart is filled with hatred for those responsible for murdering her husband.
Billy goes to his mother. He says through his tears, “Mom, Dad wouldn’t want you to let hate win. We need to pray that God would remove hate from everyone’s heart, like Martin Luther King did.
June smiles at Billy and says, “Your father would be so proud of you! You have learned to let go of your hate and let love in.”
Such was the lesson from a child.
Karen Osborne B.A. Christian Clinical Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student at Trinity College University of Toronto. D.Sc. in Psychology, St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne, B. Th. Canada Christian College & Graduate School. B.A., M.A. Christian Clinical Counseling, M.A-Th.D. Applied Theology student majoring in Psychology St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, D.D., D. Sc. Christian Clinical Counseling, Diplomate in Traumatology American Board of Traumatology Examiners of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, Diplomate in Creative Ministry St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne is a member of The Word Guild, which is a Christian writer’s group. Please go to https://thewordguild.com for further information.