“I pray that your love will keep on growing because of your knowledge and insight.
That way you will be able to determine what is best and be pure and blameless
until the day of Christ.”
I’m sitting in a corner of a beautiful old New York hotel lobby, having completed my “petition” to the United Nation’s Fourth Committee, which has been involved with the long-time tragedy of the desert people I love so much.. . the Saharawi. Each year, people with “inside” knowledge can come and speak of what they have experienced, and ask on the Saharawi’s behalf for a just solution.
It is always an emotionally troubling experience, and does not get easier for me. Often I have to listen to words that I know come from scripted speeches that have little to do with truth. My first time here, many years ago now, I remember wanting to pick up my chair and throw it at some folks who had never even been in the refugee camps, yet spoke scathing lies of the camps.
Over the years, I have much less of those intense emotions. Somehow, knowing what is true, and knowing that God loves my desert people far more than I can, has helped me to look to Him more, trust Him more, and entrust Him more with them.
Looking at Jesus’ example while He walked the earth, seeing, experiencing, and tasting of the human experience we all share, His consistent choice was to love. When He spoke, it was loving, even when “love” included uncomfortable Truth and corrections. The Example that He lived out in our world is for us to follow. His actions, and reactions help us to check our own.
This morning, I went into one of those fantastically yummy New York Bakery/Cafe’s, and ordered coffee and a pastry I never heard of before. (It was amazing.) But out of the window, I saw a man on the corner who I recognized from the UN group to which I give testimony about the Saharawi people. I (uncharacteristically) left my spot and shot out the door to greet him. First, I interrupted something he was typing on his phone, then I startled him with my forwardness. Then I greeted him with a familiar Saharawi phrase. I was kind of proud of myself for my courage to initiate a little interchange. Well…. He was not of the Saharawi of the camps. He was from “the other side” of the conflict. The “enemy.” After his startled expression, he said I had mistaken him, but with a chuckle. He said, “Thank you.” I said, “Sorry!” and ran back to my vacated chair inside.
Well, that hadn’t gone as I had expected, but I had accidentally made a friendly gesture to an “enemy” of my people and I felt good about it. Sheepish, but good.
And the next time, I think it will be easier.