I was raised in a family where racist comments and jokes were common. I was raised to hate first until proven wrong.
I was 18 years old and in the Navy on 9/11. Once we found out it was Muslims that caused the attacks my hatred for them went off the scale. And most everyone around me felt this way as well.
I was deployed to bring marines to Iraq in the spring of 2003, and I couldn't wait to bring my brothers in arms to pay them back for what they had done to us. In my opinion at that time, if you were a Muslim, you were responsible for the attacks on us.
I didn’t know anything about Muslims at this time. All I knew is that they had declared Jihad on us.
As time went on, I left the military and grew older and calmer, but my hate was still there just beneath the surface. Anytime I heard of someone getting killed by Muslims or of an attack it made my blood boil. Every year on 9/11 the images and stories brought my emotions of that first attack back.
I would at times watch war videos of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.I would sometimes watch these videos for hours rejoicing at our American victories.
When I heard the news of Osama bin Laden being killed I felt that some vengeance had finally been paid back. But it didn’t start to feel any better. It was a moment of happiness and peace. But then someone else would take over, or some lone wolf would attack somewhere else in the world.
About five years ago I truly starting following Christ. A lot of my hatred towards everyone had calmed down, but my hate for Muslims was still there, waiting to spill out.
Very early one day I woke up with God pushing on my heart telling me that this hatred was done and I had to let it go. At the time I had forgotten about it because it was just part of me.
This deep hatred had been a part of my life for close to 14 years. It was a part of who I was, and not some emotion that I felt. But God told me it was time to let it go.
I spent most of that day in prayer and in tears as this deep part of me was washed away.
I have been guarded since then because I knew that I have been easily set off with certain events or images. Now today on another anniversary of 9/11, I watch the news and my Facebook feed and I see the images and the videos of that first attack. My hate is gone and I feel sorrow for these people. I feel sorrow that they do not know the love and power of Christ. I have forgiven those responsible in my heart and I cannot wait to see what God does with me in the future.
Both C.M. and his wife have since reached out to Muslims via Embassy. We are grateful for their many examples of faith, hope, and love.