War's Backlash to the Innocent

November 13, 2001
by Rosemary Hagedorn

"Square Head!" "Nazi Lover!" "Kraut!" I still remember those hurtful words, thrown like darts, towards me, many years ago.

My parents, my brother, and I immigrated from Germany to Canada in 1957, leaving behind friends, relatives, and many memories, some good and some very bad, and looking forward to a new land of hope and freedom.

I was nine years old, with no knowledge of the English language, innocent and afraid. My first day at school was terrifying, as I was unable to understand what the teacher wanted of me. But children learn very fast, and I learned how to speak the English language very quickly and fluently. As my vocabulary improved, I began to share parts of my life with my new-found friends. When some children found out where I came from, I became their target, a target where built-up anger, learned vengeance and racial slurs became all too familiar. I was war's backlash to the innocent. I became ashamed of my birthplace and decided to hide my German heritage by not talking about it. That was a long time ago, and time does heal. Canada is my new home, and I am proud to be a Canadian.

Let us think about the innocent people who are being targeted at this time: the Muslims who have also left behind their country and sought a land of hope and freedom. Innocent people are again being targeted because of the horrific terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. It is our nature to be suspicious and feel anxious right now, especially if their skin colour is a little darker than ours and our built-up anger and vengeance lashes out against the innocent once again.

Deuteronomy 32:35,36 – "Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them." For the Lord will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants; when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free. (NASB)

As we continue to heal, rebuild and rise again, with God's help, may we learn to forgive. Let us look forward to that day when our world will be united in love. Come Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20 – He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (NASB)

Prayer: Almighty God, we ask that you heal our vengeful hearts and grant us wisdom and direction in all our endeavours. May our daily lives express unity, love and forgiveness to all we encounter and may all be done to Your glory. Amen.

About the author:

Rosemary Hagedorn <rosyhagedorn@gmail.com>
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada

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