Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Killing Usama and Christian Feelings

I graduated from high school in 1956. That is 55 years ago. Interestingly, I stay in touch with many of my classmates from Mt. Vernon, Illinois through an email forum called, "The Mousenet".

After Usama was killed by our Navy Seals at the order of our President, I had a mixture of feelings and thoughts. Some of my old friends also had a mixture of reactions. One of them wrote the following.


It appears that yours truly is, as usual, out of the mainstream of public thinking. I am not dancing in the streets over the death of Bin Laden. I get no joy out of the death, albeit possibly warranted, of another human being. Are those opposed to the death penalty dancing? Did we not execute an alleged criminal without a trial?
Jimmy D.

I responded by writing this:

Dear Jimmy D.

I am also mixed in my feelings and thoughts. War has so many casualties for so many generations. I understand the desire for justice/vengeance. I have similar feelings but perhaps forty years of counseling ministry have sanded down my angry rough edges. And, God said “Vengeance is mine; I shall repay.” so, I am left with a strange mixture of contrary feelings.

I watched the movie Doctor Zhivago again last week. It brings back so many memories of my teaching and Counseling in Russia. For over 20 years I have ministered in the former USSR.

Unfortunately, during all that time of listening to individuals and families I have never met a man or woman who has not lost a relative to Stalin, the Nazis, the /secret police or all of the above. The unresolved grief, pain, anger and addictions of these well educated, faith filled people is overwhelming. All of it going back to the times of Doctor Zhivago and the Revolution.

The Red revolutionaries were filled with idealism, good intentions and a desire to help the poor. Unfortunately, their hearts and minds were filled with an inhuman brutality that surpassed even that of Hitler. The most loyal and most dedicated were the first to die or go to the camps because Stalin could not stand having any possible competitors.

In the movie, the Communist husband of Julie Christie hated Zhivago because he wrote poetry and showed evidence of human compassion, love and kindness. He said that all those human feelings must die in order to have a new order. I have seen firsthand what happened to the 200 million Russians who have suffered from a lack of human kindness, compassion and concern.

Alcoholism rates for males are at least 75% and domestic violence rates are as high or higher. It will take generations of care, healing and treatment to bring any semblance of humanity and health to those people impacted by Socialism that insisted on “fairness”.

As I consider what happens in war I wonder about the people in Muslim countries where England, Russia and the USA have been bombing and killing for generations? Is there a better way? I do not know. Maybe war is necessary but it has long term medical, psychological and spiritual costs.

I have dedicated my adult life to “healing the broken hearted and setting the captives free” (IS 61). I have founded two large counseling centers in Cincinnati and established healing centers in 75 countries. Unfortunately, we have expanded our healing ministries greatly since I founded The Teleios Center in 1979 but the results of shock, trauma and abuse as well as wars and natural tragedies keep raising the level people with broken hearts.

It only takes one guy like Mugabe in Zimbabwe or Saddam in Iraq to damage thousands of families for generations. However,it takes years to heal those broken hearts and care for their scattered souls.

One final thought. Pope John Paul is receiving great honor by His Church and by all people of good will. What a hero he was to millions in bondage behind the Iron Curtain. He was a genius and a great man. After reading his articles I realized that I had a philosophy quite similar to his and thank him for his wisdom because he wrote so brilliantly and insight-fully about care and cure of souls. He was a Catholic, of course, and I am not. Yet he and I were on the same page on many things.

It is rarely known outside Poland and Europe that as a Priest and Cardinal he recruited young American Missionaries from Campus Crusade for Christ to train local evangelists to win them to Christ and change the balance of power in Poland. Campus Crusade gave him all their materials and taught the Catholics how to share and care for hurting people. They raised up an army of peace makers, many of whom followed him and brought change to Europe. My Campus Crusade friends told me how they worked together to plant the seeds of love, power and peace to bring down the Communists.

Blessed are the peacemakers…!

Gary (Gabe) Sweeten


Anonymous said...

Bin Laden was a true evil presence in the world. Removing him from the world, by whatever way it occurred, will help many Muslims and others.

Jim Weible said...

Powerful thoughts about the casual breaking of people and the complexity of healing broken people. Thanks for this perspective. As always.