Lessons from Lebanon: Loving Your Neighbor when Your Neighbor Isn’t Easy to Love

Image courtesy of Heart for Lebanon.

In North America, we don’t always like the idea of loving our neighbors. Whether they don’t take care of their yard like we want them to or their dog won’t stop barking, we can have a lot to say about who we love. As it happens, God has a lot to say about it, too. He commands us to love both our neighbors and our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45, Mark 12:31).

When Lebanon began receiving Syrian refugees, Camille Melki of Heart for Lebanon found just how difficult the command to love his neighbors could be.

Years of Hardship

Syria occupied Lebanon for nearly thirty years, and this time created many hardships for those living in Lebanon.

“Many of us have seen our loved ones being killed right in front of us. Our homes were destroyed. My parents’ business was burned seven times. We were under serious occupation from 1976 all the way to 2005, so even after the Civil War in Lebanon ended in 1991, Syrians still occupied our country and ruled everything in the economy and the politics, the judiciary system, anything you would think of,” Melki says.

“My wife and I got married in 1990, and we were sniped at on our wedding day. We got married in my parents’ home because churches were closed. We were getting out of my parents’ house and going to get into the car and cross to the other side of Beirut when a Syrian soldier started sniping at us. We were running for our lives between landmines.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Rachel Pfeiffer

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