Em-Elias asked me to have a meeting at her home and speak about love and forgiveness. A few days later, I held the meeting and spoke about the importance of forgiveness in the Christian faith. Em-Elias was listening carefully. After a while, she asked me to repeat what I had been saying. I didn’t know why she asked me to do so. As I started again, I noticed Em-Elias was gazing at Umaima, her daughter-in-law. Umaima was listening carefully.
I concluded my thoughts by telling the women how God loves us and therefore forgives us. We should forgive others if we truly experience God’s forgiveness. A forgiving spirit forms and shapes us after God’s character.
Most of the women left after the coffee time. However, Umaima asked me to stay longer because she wanted to speak with me. So, Em-Alias, Umaima and I were alone. Then Umaima shared with me that she and her husband had a big problem with her brother-in-law Alaa’. Many times Alaa’ had borrowed money from Umaima’s husband until the total he owed was a huge sum. When Umaima’s husband asked his brother to return the money he owed, Alaa’ refused, saying, “I do not have any money to reimburse you. Even if I had the money, I would not pay you back.” Then Alaa’ planned a big engagement celebration for his son but did not invite his brother. This form of slight is a major issue in our culture. Thus, the two brothers and their families became estranged.
Umaima confessed to us that whenever she sensed her husband was willing to reconcile with his brother, she would discourage him from doing so. She would tell him, “He was the one who did you wrong. He is the mistaken one. He is a bad person. I did not want you to forgive your brother and be a weak person.”
As our conversation ended, Umaima told me, “God forgives us because He is a mighty God. From what you have shared with us this morning, I have come to understand the one who forgives is the strong one.”