We Forgive! – GS Speaks


uesi-gsHappy 2017! “Some trust in chariots and some in horses. But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20.7) May this New Year bring in utter dependence on God so that joy and happiness will
overfl ow in our lives!
In October this year I could attend the UESI Delhi Conference. During free time I was talking to one of students from North East. He was very much disturbed by the ethnic strife among Christians in North East and wanted to write to the Christian leaders to forgive each other and move forward.
On December 11th, ‘The Hindu’ newspaper highlighted the blockade of Manipur and mentioned that the state has higher worries than demonetization. The situation is grim: “Essential commodities have vanished from the markets; life- saving drugs are scarce and fuel is being strictly rationed. The Kukis and Nagas, mostly Christians, are fi ghting with each other. Students are also involved in this.
Former IFES General Secretary Lindsay Brown in his book “Shining Like Stars” narrates a moving story from Czech Republic, immediately after the fall of the communist system: “In Bratislava, Slovakia, two women came to the stage. Both had lost daughters who were shot by Russian soldiers in 1968. These girl students had become symbols of oppression, because they had been killed in front of the University. Their mothers said they were prepared to forgive the Russians and they asked all students standing there to forgive them as well. They all began repeating quietly “We forgive, we forgive!” One could hear it from everywhere!
In the same way he quotes another story: In a student conference, two students from the rival countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan embraced and prayed for each other and their nations, expressing joy and amazement at how Jesus had transformed their hearts. The openness to forgive and resolve to build a really new people, not in the Marxist sense but in the biblical sense has characterized the student movement in
former Soviet States all across Russia!
How can UESI bring such changes in communities? Unless forgiveness happens between individuals, communities cannot be built up. “If any one says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20
We can brush aside rivalry and ethnic confl icts as though they do not matter to us. But it exposes the heart of man. What happens in communities have their beginning in the hearts of individuals.
As UESI grows, we can see growing intolerance, and tendency to justify all what we do. Let us allow space for accepting one another’s views, and respecting others’ freedom and dignity.
The issues our forefathers handled graciously can not be tackled today simply by rules and regulations! Many a time issues are blown up because our views are not heard. What has to be talked between individuals and “settled” cannot be allowed to spread into the EU, EGF groups. We need to identify these individuals and confront them so that they do not damage the carefully built up fellowships. As we begin 2017, let UESI continue to nurture genuine love. Let us also pray that our students, graduates, staff will be bound by genuine love, act as change agents and build communities.
Arul Manohar


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