Iran: “Love My Enemies? No thanks!”
Dan Baumann is a Christian worker who was imprisoned in Iran for nine weeks. He experienced the love and presence of Jesus helping him endure the harsh treatment.
But Jesus taught Dan another important lesson. Dan said, “One day, I felt that God spoke to my heart. [God said] ‘Dan, I want to teach you to love your enemies.’ I remember thinking, ‘No, not now, thank you.’”
Every day, one of Dan’s captors hit him. Dan was not interested in loving the man. But he felt God saying to him, “Dan, ask Me what I think of him.” Dan realized that God loved his attacker. So every day, he prayed, “God, change my heart.” Little by little, Dan’s heart began to change, and he began to care for his captor.
One day, Dan said to the man, “Sir, why don’t we become friends?” The man answered, “You are crazy! We will never be friends.” Dan asked him twice more, and said, “Let’s start by exchanging names.” And he reached out his hand to shake the man’s hand.
“It was then that he froze,” Dan said. “Then he starts looking around, and then he took his hand out of his pocket and shook my hand. He said, ‘I would love to be your friend.’” The two men told each other their names.
Then the man asked, “Is there anything you want in the prison?” Dan had been living in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell. He asked his new friend if he could have a bigger cell.
“I never saw that man again in my life,” Dan said. “But later the night guards came to my cell and said, ‘We have orders to move you to a bigger cell.’ I knew that God had changed the man’s heart.”
(Source: Kids of Courage archives and VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
To Think About
At first, Dan was not willing for God to teach him to love his enemies, but he became willing to be made willing. He asked God to change his heart, and in turn, his obedience helped change his captor’s heart.
Is there anything that you know God wants you to do that you have been unwilling to do? Will you ask God to help you become willing?