Monday, March 21, 2011

Neighbours

Matthew 19:19 (Amplified Bible)

19Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself

By Belinda

Paul and I are deep into a documentary set: BBC- History of World War 11 which is really a compilation of many documentaries put together over the years and related only by the overarching topic of the war.

The most compelling parts on many levels are the interviews with people, who relate their personal experiences, reliving the traumatic events as though they happened just yesterday. I am captured and deeply moved by these eye witness accounts; grateful that someone did the amazing  work of  recording this living history before it was lost. The interviews with veteran soldiers of all ranks and of all armies: Japanese; German and British are fascinating when you strip away the uniform and see only men who fought, often proud soldiers and skilled in battle, no matter which side they fought on, and having a mutual respect for fellow soldiers who engaged in the art of war.

One dark and ugly theme emerged however, and that was the dehumanization of the "enemy." We heard repeated by soldiers from several armies that they considered a certain nationality or group inferior; "sub-human;" and this was a rationale that enabled them to commit atrocities. The Germans on the Russian front considered the Russians, and before them the Poles, and the Jews; to be inferior, and the Japanese considered the Chinese inferior to their own race when they invaded Manchuria. I dare say there is no nation on earth free from the guilt of this error in which lies the seed of hatred and the excuse for abuse that would seem inexcusable if carried out against one's "own kind." Over and over when the interviewer asked how they could have treated other human beings as they did, seeing them as "less than" they were was what made it easy.

I found myself thinking of the verse in the book of Matthew about loving your neighbour as you do yourself, and wondering...does it mean that in our neighbour we need to look for our own face? If we did, how could we look down on or despise anyone?

 Prejudging--I've done it  (a word linked to prejudice,) but I find myself surprised, enriched and humbled whenever I truly listen to another human being with the only agenda being to know them.

3 comments:

pharmgirlfollies.com said...

I have had a rough time with this lately. On one of my accounts I have it listed that I am pro life. I get daily reminders that I am an ignorant bible thumper who doesn't believe in science. They don't even know me! I just shake my head alot and try hard to ignore it. (Alot of times I don't.) Sad.

Belinda said...

Dear Liz,
Yes, you are the victim of a stereotype indeed. Tough.

Dave Hingsburger said...

A brave post. Fighting prejudice, personal prejudice is, to me, a life long battle. I live in a world that despises the very people I work with. I am not immune to messages of superiority based on intellect. Therefore, my interactions, that place where prejudice does it's ugly work, need always to be under my personal scrutiny. Vigilance makes me tired, the casual cruelty of bigotry is so the easier way. But, then, it wasn't mean to be easy was it?