Sunday, November 14, 2004

Yasser Arafat: A Thought on Legacies and Judgements

I debated for a while on whether or not to write a post about Yasser Arafat after his death. As the news unfolded and I read, heard and saw the coverage of him and his life the decision was made for me.

Ninety-nine percent of the coverage has portrayed Mr. Arafat as a patriot, a hero, a statesman and a fighter of peace. Are they thinking about the same guy I am? The same guy who, in 1990, is quoted as saying Palestinian goal is to drive Israel into the sea? The same guy who has sponsored terrorism against Israel for decades? The same guy who, when offered a deal that met ninety percent of his published goals, threw a fit and said Israel was trying to destroy Palestine? This is the statesman and the lover of peace?

I don't think so. Even former President Carter said Arafat was an incredible man of peace. Are these people deluded or do they just not want to offend anyone? Maybe both? Arafat was the same as bin Ladin except smarter. He supported terror through his network, but on the surface was the smooth politician that everybody saw. He was so good, apparently, that the only person to call him straight is the Australian Prime Minister.

Just like Mr. Arafat did, we so often put this person in front of people instead of living transparently so they can see who we truly are. The problem with this is that we never truly know each other. We try to make everyone think that we are so good and so perfect when in reality we are fallen creatures in need of Christ. Imagine our churches and our world if we were actually real with each other, relished in our weaknesses, failures and fallings and depended totally upon the grace of God!

When we die, though, everyone will remember the person we tried to be, right? But does that matter, really? What will God say on the day of judgment? Will he commend our honesty and transparency and our dependency upon His grace? What will we say when our walls and facades are melted away and we stand as naked as the day we were born in front of God? Honestly I do not know what God will say. I know God calls us to live honestly and transparently with other people and to not put up facades that deceive.

Will we leave a legacy that matters or will we be satisfied with making people think we are good? Arafat left a legacy that many people say is a great legacy, but in reality is horrible. We need to forget about what people think about us and focus on what God things. If we do not, we will be so caught up in masking who we are we'll forget about whose we really are.

Until next time....


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