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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Enemy Within

Mosab Hassan Yousef grew up knowing that Israelis were his worst enemy--the source of all his suffering and all his problems. And yet, as he observed in prison Hamas brothers torturing other Hamas, a new idea began to form in his mind. Perhaps Israel wasn't his true enemy. Later, when he was given a Bible to read, he read Jesus' words in Matthew about loving one's enemies. He spoke about this moment in his book Son of Hamas,
"For years I had struggled to know who my enemy was, and I had looked for enemies outside of Islam and Palestine. But I suddenly realized that the Israelis were not my enemies. Neither was Hamas . . . I saw that enemies were not defined by nationality, religion, or color. I understood that we all share the same common enemies: greed, pride, and all the bad ideas and the darkness of the devil that live inside us.

That meant I could love anyone. The only real enemy was the enemy inside me." (Mosab Hassan Yousef, Son of Hamas, Tyndale, 2010, p. 122)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer recognized this same truth, writing, "Idolatry and cowardice confront us on all sides, but the direst foe does not confront us, he is within us."*

When we begin to see that our problems are rooted in sin, the sin within, we are ready to fall before Jesus and say, "I believe, help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

The Spirit of Truth opened Yousef's eyes to salvation, just as He did for Bonhoeffer, and for me (see John 16:13).

*Bonhoeffer's words quoted in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, p. 309, from the same passage that I blogged about a few weeks ago, before reading Son of Hamas.

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