Difficult To Forgive
Forgiveness is an important word in the Bible and the concept of that word is one of the key elements of Christian theology. However, the emphasis on forgiveness in the Bible is almost opposite to the culture of the Middle East. There it is often more talk about revenge rather than forgiveness. Some Arab Christians have problems with the concept of forgiveness after so many years of oppression by other religions. Biblical truth is taught from the pulpit, but “forgiving your enemy” is often not part of that teaching. Though Arab Christians know that the Bible instructs us to forgive, it is difficult to forgive a person who has hurt or killed one of their family members. “There is nothing against anger and frustration, but you have to channel those emotions in a right way, otherwise it is possible that you will commit a sin, maybe a crime, and that is not God’s way. So a person experiencing trauma needs to learn how to deal with that anger and feelings of revenge. Therefore we have organized these sessions,” one of the trainers said.
‘Big Step Forward’
Counseling Iraqi refugees with trauma is a long process and can take years, depending on the person. Open Doors has started the first sessions in trauma counseling and hopefully many will follow. “It is unique what we are doing here. Challenging Arabs in areas of forgiveness, revenge, shame and honor is new in this world, but it is a blessing to be able do this,” one of the Arab trainers said.The participants are overwhelmed with the material and the information: “I am in need of this material when I am dealing with Iraqis suffering with trauma in my church. There are so many questions and unanswered problems, but we have made a big step forward now.”