Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
Recently, ABCnews.com aired a follow-up interview with a sweet girl named Myriam. Her message: forgiveness. She told ABC News “20/20” co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas, “Jesus said ‘forgive each other, love each other the way I love you…’”
You might remember Myriam from this lovely video by SAT-7 KIDS, a popular children’s show in the Middle East. They found her in a refugee camp in Irbil last year at Christmas and asked a few questions. What was so fantastic about this little girl is her love and desire to forgive the terrorists who evicted her and thousands others from their homes.
It is hard to imagine how I’d respond if someone threw me out of my home and threatened my life for being a Christian. I am embarrassed to admit that forgiveness wouldn’t be my first emotion. I would be angry, terrified, offended… None of these are loving or trusting attributes.
But Myriam is from Qaraqosh. It’s a city near Mosul, where as you might remember from August of 2014, ISIS had already swept through. In an article titled Iraq Christians flee as Islamic State takes Qaraqosh, I read “…hundreds of Christian families fled Mosul after the Islamist rebels gave them an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a special tax or be executed.”
Mosul was, and I repeat “was,” one of the oldest Christian villages in the world. They were Christian since Christ was on earth. I imagine there are nuances to how they lived in a Christ-like manner that was deeply imbedded into their culture, things they would have taken for granted.
I am intrigued by this as a Yankee living in the Deep South. I see many cultural nuances that are prominent in this part of the country. One is impeccable manners. The South is fuelled by etiquette and you don’t have anything if you ain’t got good manners. A reply of “Yes, Ma’am.” or “Thank you, sir.” is ingrained into children the moment they can talk.
I imagine similar nuances of Christianity were in Mosul, where Christianity was a part of life for thousands of years.
So for sweet Myriam to want forgiveness above revenge is no surprise. It’s a perfect witness to the truest understanding of Christ’s teachings.
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(Photo Credit: ABCnews.com)
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