What I am about to tell you is an experience I had with a specific group of gangs.
I was a young thirteen year old, full of so much youth and emotion. I was a practicing Christian who had loved to reach peace and learn more about animals. Everything in my life went well..until my class exposed the genocide in Rwanda. I had reached a point where I had realized the suffering in this world, the cruel acts of injustice, greed, murder, theft, everything evil roamed everywhere and for once in my life…i cried for the world and felt pain at the helplessness to do anything about it. Most notably, I had somehow received claims that this country oppressed another country and attacked it’s civilians. I was tired of being helpless in the world and of the pain. As I heard about the ideology of Islamic terrorists, about fighting for a noble and loyal cause for God, against unbelievers, I started believing in it. In my naivety, I was slowly becoming brainwashed by their ideals.
It took a lot of reflection after so much confusion and thoughts on my faith, until I came to a point where I was going to make a decision to convert to Islam, an extreme form of Islam. Seeing war in the Old Testament struck me as logical for God to be supportive of war and violence, so I chose that route…Why? to change the world, to rid the oppressors, free the poor, and protect the weak. I shockingly came across a terrorist site online if I can recall and well, lets say…the crime I was about to commit was treason. I was willing to feed terrorists information about our country, stab, shoot, bomb places, execute anyone, whatever I had to do to overthrow tyranny and corruption. It didn’t bother me that I was fighting against the police, military, and the whole American nation because no one was above God. At the end, I would devote myself to forming a brotherhood with other terrorists and become a suicide bomber for my faith. Let me tell you: It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, etc. You make your own choices whether good or evil. The Bible says that the human heart is the most deceitful and wicked things (Jer. 17:9). I somehow believed this was God’s will, but I was blinded by Satan’s lies and deceptions. I looked in the mirror and I was terrified at the image I saw, a masked man who brought death to the innocent and this country just as other terrorists.
I was wrong about everything. Evil had no face, the Americans who I had seen torture their prisoners mercilessly weren’t the real enemy, it was our sinful nature from within that we are to destroy. I am grateful that God had saved me from lies or otherwise, i’d be on death row if not already dead. It was not until I had realized that Jesus had taught love and tolerance towards all men, that there is no other God, but Jesus, and that he is all-loving beyond comprehension and all other gods. He taught me a better way, the only way. With patience and great wisdom and through God’s own divine words flowing from the mouth of Jesus, he revealed to me that forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit that souls are transformed and the world is changed. Having a love for our enemies will demonstrate that God’s Love is so powerful, it has no limits. Vengeance will only create an endless cycle of violence, but God’s Love will ultimately destroy the bitterness of unforgiveness and this cycle of evil.