Ten years ago today, an explosion heard round the world started me on a journey. I recall vividly sitting peacefully in Coach Irby's Economics class, peacefully ignoring everyone including the teacher, doing my homework with my headphones in, when the atmosphere of the entire school suddenly changed. The televisions came on and showed us the buildings, the airplane strike, and the smoke and death.

Years before, my mother had spent some time in Israel and had had some bad experiences with Arabs, and she had passed these experiences on to me in stories. The attack on September 11 crystallized my latent fear, spite, and anger into terror, hatred, and rage. I wanted revenge, divine punishment, for the whole Middle East to hurt.

Over time these emotions dimmed and I forgot many of my feelings--until 2006. That year, after my graduation from university, my mother and I traveled to Southeast Asia and ended up in Thailand for a couple of days. In the hotel in Bangkok I saw a covered woman for the first time. I was fascinated by the mystery, by the flowing garments, by that seemingly impenetrable wall of clothing. Standing in an elevator with two of these ladies, I finally struck up a conversation. I found that they were really friendly and gracious, and I found that they had come to Thailand for medical treatment. They used to go to America, but they had stopped because they were afraid: Americans hated them.

Their story broke my heart. I was one of those Americans, until that moment. I realized that I had held on to anger and unforgiveness, and that we as a nation, and we as Christians, had failed to forgive. That one elevator conversation changed where I am today, who I am, and what I am doing. God used someone I would have assumed was an enemy to reveal my own black and bitter heart.

I'm sharing this because, ten years later, we're still trying to sort out our emotions about what happened on September 11, 2001. I hope that someone reads this and perhaps recognizes that their anger and hurt yet remain right under the surface and brings that hurt to God. September 11 still hurts me on some level. I know that the motivations behind the attacks are still alive in the hearts of many today. But I can't live there. Jesus has called us to forgive as we are forgiven, to love those who hurt us. I invite you who read this to forgive, to be willing to assume the hurt and maintain a vulnerable heart toward people whom God loves and whom Christ died to redeem.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

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