It has been said that pretzels were made to symbolize praying, with the strips of dough folded to resemble arms crossing the chest. This past Sunday, the lesson for the 3rd grade Sunday school class was about the importance of loving your enemies, and the kids made pretzels to remind them to pray for their enemies.
As I gave the lesson to the kids, I could not help but think of two things: 1.) Republicans vs. Democrats, and 2.) al-Qaeda vs. Americans.
Some fundamentalist Democrats harbor harsh feelings towards Republicans, believing the Republicans are the enemy. So too, some fundamentalist Republicans harbor harsh feelings towards the Democrats, believing the Democrats are the enemy.
Though taken to an extreme, the dynamic between al-Qaeda and Americans is filled with similar harsh feelings.
Hatred for the enemy killed Presidents and Senators. Hatred for the enemy crashed into towers, taking hundreds of lives. Hatred for the enemy filled the streets with looting, protests, and car bombs. Hatred for the enemy is what fuels the fighting.
Hatred continues to fester on American soil and throughout the world, and each side (or political party) feels their hatred is justified, while the other side is just being evil.
As Americans approach September 11th, many will remember that morning in 2001. Some of these same Americans will post, speak, or read harsh words about a political party different from their own. Though lives may not be taken during the posting, speaking, or reading, it all lays a ground work for hate.
History has shown us that hatred breeds hatred. In my opinion, hatred is the work of a lazy man, for it takes greater strength to manage a smile, keep an open mind, and offer forgiveness.
In memory of the victims of September 11, 2001, as well as the memory of all the lives lost at the hands of hate, I ask that you grab a pretzel, cross your arms, and pray. Pray that you and your enemy will see the light that exists in hope and love and find the strength to let go of the hate.
Don’t want to pray? Don’t. Just eat the pretzel, remember those who have died, and be thankful you have food, because there are many in the world that do not.