Friday, December 7, 2012

Ravi Zacharias Speaks with a Founder of Hamas

Do you know why the Middle East is in the cauldron of hate? Because it's living with the logic of unforgiveness.

I was talking to one of the founders of Hamas. Some of you may have heard me tell this on the air. His name was Sheikh Talal [Sider]. I was part of a group with the former Archbishop of Canterbury. About six or seven of us have gone to the Middle East to try and bring the people together to a peace table. So we've met with the leaders from both sides, and the last day we were there, one of the founders of Hamas, a muscle-bound guy who had served 18 years in prison for all of the killings that he'd been involved in. His son, himself, had been in prison. He'd lost many of his children, some of them in, I think, in suicide bombing.

We were all allowed to ask him one question, and when my question came, I asked him the question. I was not happy with the answer. I said, "Sheikh, I'm not happy with the answer," I said, "but I'm not gonna argue with you." I said, "Sheikh, I just want to say this to you: Not far from where you and I are sitting, 5000 years ago, Abraham--whom you revere, whom I revere--went up a mountain. He took his son. You say it was Ishmael. Christians believe it was Isaac. Let's not get argumentative about that now. Let's just agree that he took his son up the mountain."

He said, "That's right."

I said, "And offered him as a sacrifice to God, and God stopped him in the nick of time, and held back his hand, and said, 'Stop!'"

I said, "Do you know what God said to Abraham then?" He just looked at me blank. I said, "God said, 'I, myself, will provide.'" And he nodded his head.

I said, "Very close to where you and I are sitting here in Ramallah, not far from here, 2000 years ago, God kept that promise, and He took His own Son."

I said, "Sheikh Talal, this time the axe did not stop."

He just stared at me. The room was full of smoke with all of his security people [and all there]. I said, "I may never see you again, Sheikh, and you won't like what I'm gonna say to you, but I wanna leave this with you: Until you and I receive the Son that God has provided, we will be offering our own sons and daughters in the battlefields of this world for land and power and pride."

I could just see the man's lips beginning to quiver. He was sitting right next to me. Nobody said anything after that. I thought, "Brother, I've really blown this big time."

As we were walking out, the Archbishop put his arm around me, hugged me close, and said, "Ravi, that was of God." I said, "I meant it. I meant it." He said, "You're right."

As we were all going down, Sheikh Talal went quickly and shook hands with them and embraced them. And he came over to me, and he grabbed me by the shoulders, kissed me on both sides of the face, patted my face, and he said, "You're a good man. I hope I see you again someday," and opened the door to let me in.

When you understand this Christ who offers forgiveness, it is a message that is unparalleled. In Hinduism, you pay with karma. In Islam, you'll never know. It's "Insh'Allah". Your good deeds will have to outweigh your bad deeds in Islam. It's true! They'll tell you that. But the grace of Christ comes to you and says, "If any man comes unto me, I will know why he's a customer." And if we confess our sins--He's faithful and just--He'll forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness

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