The story behind this photograph is truly excruciating. This beautiful green- eyed Syrian girl is currently living in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The reason she is there? As you may have already guessed, her entire family was murdered. She herself barely escaped death.
She has witnessed acts of sheer evil that took away her everything. Everything! What do you think would be a natural response to this? God forbid, but, if this were to ever happen to you, how would you respond? With hatred? Revenge? Not this girl. She chose love!” When she arrived at the refugee camp, she took a marker and wrote “LOVE” on her hand, in both English and Arabic.
Jesus’ teaching, to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” is a very difficult pill to swallow, especially at a time like this. This young girl who must have been completely traumatized by such a heinous act and the tragedy of having lost her entire family at the hands of an unjust aggressor…it would be only natural to harbour hatred. It would be entirely human to wish evil upon perpetrators who took everything away from you, but she knows better, perhaps better than any one of us, she knows “LOVE.”
Love and forgiveness are the reason that God sent His only Son into the world. Of course we know this, but it is a challenge to embody this truth in our everyday lives. The good news about God’s redemptive love and forgiveness, and plan of salvation – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life (John 3:16)” – unfortunately, is something that the heartless terrorists will never know. How could they ever come to know about the gift of God’s unconditional love? Unless…unless, we show them and others by our lives, like this beautiful Syrian girl.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, can we spread the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet? Can we choose love instead of hate, and can we choose forgiveness instead of revenge? It is not easy, but with the help of God, we can!