Thursday, December 28, 2006

Saddam Calls For End of Hatred

In Saddam Hussein's farewell letter to the Iraqi people as his execution approaches he penned the following words,

"I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking."


"Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any honest believer."

I don't want to get into a political debate over the war in Iraq here. I just find it ironic that the man responsible for over 100,000 deaths could write something like this. Sometimes we only get serious about the important things in life when we are at the end of the road. Often we would be at our best if we would only follow our own advice.

Jesus said of the Pharisees,

Matthew 23:2-15
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."

I wonder how many times I have spoken words to others that should have sat a little longer in my heart first.


Mark said...

How interesting! This points out an important characteristic that most people have. Namely, no one believes himself/herself to be a genuinely bad person. In one of his books, Dale Carnegie told the story of a murderer. This guy had gunned down some policemen, and was locked in a building, surrounded by a police force trying to break in and take him. As he sat there hearing threats over a megaphone, he wrote on a small sheet of paper. His words were something like, "I'm so misunderstood. They think I'm some kind of killer, but if they really knew me, what they'd find is that I'm a gentle person who couldn't even hurt a fly."

That's from a guy who just shot a police officer. I've found it really helps in dealing with people if you talk to them as if they are basically good at heart, even if their actions are to the contrary. Appealing to a person's better motives can really help smooth over tough situations. Then again, psychology is your area of expertise, not mine. :-)

I hadn't heard about that...interesting post!

III said...

I don't know, Mark. I think most people have a very felt & innate sense of shame or guilt. Some feel it to a great degree. Only sociopaths like the guy in your example or Saddam actually believe themselves to be as innocent as cherub's.

Funny you mention preaching, because that being one of my belief's, I make it a point that my sermons not simply be a hearty helping of guilt. I make sure that my preaching is fundamentally "good news."

Matt said...

Good news need to be kept good news. There are implications and obligations that result from the good news (feeling guilty for sin being one) but it is still nonetheless, good news.

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