“I hate her, she’s a Pakistani!”
I stopped in my tracks and glanced worriedly at my Zoom screen to look at who had uttered these words. I saw his face, contorted with rage, and realized I had to not just diffuse a tense situation, but ask for Divine guidance.
This happened yesterday in the online class I conduct for writers. In this class, I have aspiring writers from Dubai, Canada, Syria, Mauritius and from all over India learning to write professionally.
One lady, from Dubai, but originally from Pakistan floored the rest of the class with a brilliant piece she had written, Everyone applauded, accept this gentleman, he was fuming as he shouted those words across to me later. Luckily, the lady in particular had just left as her Ramadan prayer had started.
I looked at his fuming face, and told him, his words were not just his but were echoed by millions of our own people, and same words of hate by millions across the border.
“We hate each other!” I said sadly, “But it’s got to stop!”
“How do we stop hating each other, after all the atrocities committed by the other side?” wondered one of the other students.
My mind went to a passage from Philip Yancy’s book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” A book, that I’ve treasured for its wisdom, in a world full of hate. I remembered the passage, “Vengeance is a passion to get even. It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you…. The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. The escalator never stops, never lets anyone off!”
“Someone!” I told the person in my class, who suddenly was listening to me calmly, has to break the chain. Someone has to forgive!”
It was on a subdued note the class ended, but I knew that the message was not just for forgiveness that needed to happen between Indians and Pakistanis only, but between all of us who carry a grudge!
We all need to exert grace on ourselves and into relationships!
“Grace,” says Yancy, is a, “force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate!”
And finally, if Amazing Grace from a God above can be given to a wretch like me, shouldn’t I give that same grace, that forgiveness to others around?
Yes, indeed, it was a strange ‘Writer’s Course’ I conducted yesterday, as we started breaking the chain of retaliation, using a gift called grace..!
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