As Christians celebrate Christmas this year they do so with great deal of anxiety and fear over the uncertainties of their future in the country. The prevalent Muslim-Christian tensions is the country created by certain quarters for political gains is indeed really a real threat to the existing peace and harmony among the various races in the country. This together with the threats of ISIS in the world has thrown the world into chaos from which we may never recover.
In our country all sorts of accusations have been made against the Christians for trying to convert the Muslims to Christianity. The irony is that these are done by those who have little or no knowledge of what Christianity is all about. They refuse to dialogue or reason but are only interested in throwing wild accusations without any evidence to prove their allegations.
Like in all religions there could be over zealous Christians who believe in aggressive propagation of their faith but by and large this group is small and insignificant in a country where Christians for just about 9% of the population. The majority of the Christians are mature, wise and law abiding and would never want to do anything that is against in the country’s constitution which forbids preaching their faith to fellow Muslims.
Christianity, like all major religions, is about love not hate, about peace not war and it is about charity and helping the less fortunate regardless of race or creed. It is about sharing the little they have with those who don’t have anything. To accuse them of wanting to convert the Muslims to their faith is utterly wrong and mischievous.
In the world today there is so much hate towards people of different faiths. Even in our country this hate is gaining foothold which the religious and political leaders are not serious in putting a stop to it. The “Allah” issue is the main cause of this. Our pride as a nation of diverse origins living together in peace and harmony is fast eluding us and it is time that everyone make serious and genuine efforts to stop this.
As ordinary citizens we are helpless as religious and racial hate is propagated with blatant disregard for the laws. Even the law enforcers do not seem to do anything to stop the irresponsible people from trying to incite trouble. We are sad that the peace and goodwill that we struggled to build over half a century is going to be destroyed by this hate politics of the minority. We see destruction and disruption coming and want to do something to thwart it but not sure what to do. Where do we from here? Who can we turn for help? Even God does not seem to hear to our plea.
The answer came to me in the form of a sermon from a priest recently. He said that the solution for all our troubles is within us which is simple but most difficult – forgiveness. It is in forgiving those who preach hate towards us that will stop their injustice and aggression towards us, not confrontation or court battles. But forgiving the ‘enemy’ is the most difficult thing to do. It needs a lot of humility and strength to do so and many of us don’t have them.
Today we are hated and denied our rights to even worship God in our way. Christmas is about forgiveness. Are we willing to forgive those who provoke us, propagate hate towards us and even persecute us? It is difficult but for the sake of peace and love, we have no option but to do so like what Jesus himself did.
Are we willing to forgive those who prevent us from using ‘Allah’ and seize and mutilate our Bibles? Are we willing to forgive those who throw all forms of false accusations and insults? Are we willing to forgive those who say that they cannot greet us during this Christmas? Are we, like Jesus, prepared to forgive those who do not know what they are doing? These are the pertinent questions that we must ask ourselves as we celebrate this Christmas.
In the eyes of men forgiveness is a sign of weakness but in the eyes of God it is sign of great strength
A blessed and Joyous Christmas