{From Jim Forest of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship)

When Nancy and I were at the Ecumenical Institute, near Bethlehem, in 1985, we became friends of two Mennonites, Herb and Maureen Klassen. A few weeks ago, after giving a talk at Trinity Western University in Abbotsford, British Columbia, I met one of the younger members of the family, Evy Klassen, and, thanks to her, am now in touch with her brother-in-law, Mark Klassen, presently in New Delhi, India. With his friend, Dan Baumann, Mark is co-author of “A Beautiful Way.”

I found this extract from the book on Mark’s blog. It’s a remarkable story.


Loving Your Enemy

An Excerpt from “A Beautiful Way” (YWAM Publishing, 2005,
The following story comes from the book I wrote with my close friend, Dan Baumann. It’s one of Dan’s many stories from his years in Afghanistan, and it’s one of my favourites from that book.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28).

I saw this kind of love in action one day during Afghanistan’s civil war, when I was working in a hospital in Kabul. Intense fighting had broken out on the city streets. As was our custom on such day, some of us at the hospital who were foreigners gave the national workers rides home, as most public transport had stopped.

On this occasion, Bill, a coworker of mine from New York, and I were dropping off an Afghan coworker when we found ourselves amidst a violent skirmish. As we began to retreat, we saw our Afghan friend being accosted by a local soldier. Immediately Bill and I recognized that the soldier was a member of the ethnic group within the country that had been responsible for recent kidnappings and killings, an effort to cleanse the nation of a rival group. Our
friend was from that rival group, and this soldier appeared intent on dealing cruelly with him. We also saw the fear in our friend’s eyes.

Realizing that this situation would most likely end in the execution of our friend and coworker, Bill and I chose to intervene. We got out of our car and attempted to retrieve our friend, but the soldier held on to him firmly. He then turned his RPG (rocket-propelled grenade)directly at us and commanded us to leave at once. With the RPG pointed right at our heads, Bill looked the soldier in the eye and noticed that it was bloodshot. Realizing that he had some eye drops from the hospital in his pocket, Bill asked the soldier, “Does your eye itch?”

With a look of bewilderment the soldier answered, “Yes.” Bill pulled the medication out of his pocket and offered it to the soldier. Setting his gun aside, the soldier reached out his hand to receive the eye drops. Other soldiers, looking on with envy, gathered around to receive medication also. Right there on the street, Bill and I were hosting an eye clinic.

Only moments before we had been face to face with an angry and armed soldier. We distributed eye medication to five soldiers, and all of them immediately began to feel better. Not only that, of course, but their moods had been completely transformed. They apologized profusely to us, released our friend, and then invited us for tea.”

  • * *

Posted by Mark Jonathan Harvey Klassen

(title :Loving Your Enemey:)

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