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2014 is the year of growing faith
2014 is the year of growing faith

Enemies come together in love

It is possible to express genuine love for your enemies. Rev Amel Manyon describes how she lives out one of the hardest parts of Christian faith.

Rev Amel Manyon. Photo taken by Journey.

Rev Amel Manyon. Photo: Journey

I grew up in South Sudan, which has a lot of different people from different tribes with different beliefs and languages. Recently the Dinka and Nuer people in South Sudan have been in conflict, and many people have died.

I am Dinka but I am married to a Nuer.

I love Nuer people. They are my husband’s people; they are my people. Sometimes I find it difficult telling the Dinka that Nuer people are good. They think that maybe it’s just because I am married to them.

But as a Christian I see it in a different way. God is calling us to love our enemies.

Who is our enemy? Is it the one who does bad things? How about the one who lets someone do bad things?

I think the one who lets the person do bad things is my enemy, but because this person is innocent I can bring them near to me with different ways of behaving with them. If I keep telling them different stories and keep loving them, in the end they will come back and say sorry for what they have done. That tells me they are not responsible for what they have done because there is something pushing them to do it. Behind the reasons there is always an evil spirit pushing them.

How do we push past these evil spirits?

Firstly, we put it in prayer because in prayer everything is possible in God’s name.

Secondly, we step forward and ask, what are the common things that we can come together on? Instead of talking about what I don’t like, it would be better to talk about what is common for us. What things do we share that can bring us together? I think this is very important.

There are a lot of ways that we come together. Even in South Sudan there are people preaching saying, “This is not a conflict between Nuer and Dinka, it is a misunderstanding. There are people being misled by another group and we need to come back to reality.”

We understand that we have lost a lot of people but this is not the first time; it has happened before, and we came back together. We can come back together again.

Amel was a speaker at the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, South Pacific Area Seminar in Brisbane and is minister with Uniting Church Northern Suburbs Dinka Speaking Faith Community, South Australia.

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