BIBLE, Titus 1:15
When I was just a kid, I was very attached to my late grandmother. I used to cry until my parents agree to let me sleep over at her place. During the rainy winter nights, my grandma would let me share her bed, and she would brush my hair with her thin, delicate fingers and tell me stories from the ancient past! I used to fall asleep between her arms forgetting my fear from the storm outside! My Grandma passes away four years ago, may God have mercy on her soul. I’m a grown woman now, a wife and a mother, but I have to admit I’m still afraid of storms, especially during the night! Whenever there’s a storm outside I would curl up in bed and approach my husband who knows my fear, he puts his arms around me and kisses my forehead and keeps hugging me until I fall asleep! Tonight Its a fearful storm outside, the wind is blowing violently, and my husband is working late.
A phone conversation with an old friend lead to a debate, she insisted that a person should experience all things in life whether good or bad before he makes up his mind of what works for him! I, on the other hand, stressed on the experiences that others had before us, and how they tried to pass on their wisdom to us so that we avoid falling into the trap of bad experiences! The conversation seemed endless, but we finally agreed to disagree! After I hang up with her, I made myself a warm cup of tea and sat by the side of the fireplace, I was now debating myself whether my opinion was right or wrong! The mood of the warm fire beside me, and the rain falling outside my window reminded me of my grandma, and of a story she used to tell me:
Long long ago, in a far away land lived a wise king. The king was very much-loved by the people because he was fair, nice and generous. His kingdom was known for being peaceful and wealthy, and the king was known to be a man of God. He was very religious and ruled his kingdom according to the laws of the Lord. The king’s wife passed away after giving birth to a twin boys “Omar” and “Salim”, the king raised his boys to be strong men, and he loved them equally. It was hard for the king and everyone who knew “Omar”and “Salim” to tell them from each other since they were identical twins! They even used to play tricks on their old man because of their similar appearance. But the king knew that no matter how alike his sons’ looked from the outside, their hearts and their loyalty to laws of God will not be the same.
The king was growing old, and weak and he needed to choose one of his two sons to be the next king. It was a hard choice to make knowing that the two men have shown nothing but courage and good behavior for the past twenty years. The old king had to make sure that the son he chooses to run the kingdom, has to be a man of God, that was the only way that he would treat the people fairly and save them from misery and poverty.
One day the king called his two sons into his chamber, he said: My two sons, you have grown to be brave young men and its time for you to start participating in ruling and protecting your kingdom. I have heard of a strong Empire in the far east, called China. This Empire is known for its strength, and wealth. I’m sending you to China to learn their ways, live among the people and try to figure out the reasons that this Empire is one of the greatest in the world. Maybe we can benefit from its experience and help make our kingdom stronger and better. You’ll be provided with a three-month expenses, and you’ll be leaving tonight. Remember, when you reach China you are no longer the sons of a great king you’ll be the sons of life!
“Omar” and “Salim”started their trip on that same night, and after three months they returned to the kingdom to find their beloved father on the deathbed. Everyone in the kingdom was sad, they loved their king so much, and they were afraid that his sons won’t be as fair and just as him.
The two young men waited outside the king’s chamber as he was informed by their return. The king called his son “Omar” first.
– Come “Omar” sit by my side, I’m a dying man I can’t see or hear very well.
-” Yes Father!” Omar said sadly.
-Tell me of your journey my son. What do you think about China? Why is this Empire so strong?
-But father, this isn’t the time for stories!
-Come on son, you were my eyes in that far land, show your dying father what he has failed to see!
-” Very well father!”Said Omar with a broken voice, “China is a land of love, work and religion. Everybody there live to work and pray, they all love each other and share good things. They treated me as if I’m one of them, opened their homes and hosted me. I think that were this Empire’s strength comes from. Their strong belief in God and his laws give them strength.
-Very well “Omar”I have heard what you think, now I need to see through the eyes of “Salim”, send your brother in please!
“Salim” went into his father’s chamber, as “Omar”waited outside worrying about his father’s health.
– Come “Salim” sit by my side, I’m a dying man I can’t see or hear very well.
-“Bless you father” Salim replied sadly.
-Tell me of your journey to China my son, did you find out why this empire is so strong?
– This Empire is guarded by the devil father!
-Why do you say that “Salim”?
-People in China, are bad, they spent their time in hurting others, stealing and killing! Prostitution is everywhere! They make a living by invading helpless villagers, raping their women and killing the children. No one dares to attack such an evil empire, that’s why it’s so strong!!
– “very well Salim” the wise king replied, “I have seen China through your eyes indeed but now I need to rest for a while, I’m tired and weak!”
-“Bless you father!”Salim said as he kissed his father’s hand and left his room.
Two days later, the king called for his sons. As the two brothers entered their father’s chamber they were surprised by the huge crowd of ministers and consultants in the room, usually their father talks to them in private!
-Come now my sons, I’m too weak to tell the difference between you. “Omar come and sit to my right. “Salim” come and sit to my left. As you know my boys, I’m dying and I need to think about my kingdom and who will rule it after I’m gone. One of you is going to be the next king, usually the kingdom is ruled by the elder son, but since you’re twins I had to make a choice! You’re trip to China was a test for both of you, to see who is worthy of ruling this kingdom and serving the people.
“My sons, he who is pure see’s everything pure because his pure spirit leads him to be where the good exists! Omar, you have a pure spirit that’s why you went to good places in China, were love exists and people are kind and religious! Salim, Alas my son, it breaks my heart that you have chosen the wrong path away from God! Your soul is not pure, it lead you to the places where the devil lives, you have seen only the wickedness in Man because that’s where your soul chose to be! “
And I remember every time my grandma reaches this part of the story, she would look into my eyes and ask me: Who do you think the king chose between his two sons to rule the kingdom?
– “Omar” I would answer.
And why he chose Omar?
-“Because he’s good! ” I’d reply so innocently !
and My grandma would smile and say : “Yes! Because: “ Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
Now I’m smiling! I finish my tea and wash my cup and dry it, the debate within me came an end, I know I’m right! We don’t have to try bad things to know that it’s bad for us. God has taught us what is right and what is wrong and gave us the enough intelligence to distinguish between them, but making that choice is eventually up to us.