How I gave up my gun

From Ramez Salamé

Video Interview Transcript

A couple of years later the war broke out in Lebanon and I felt as a young man that I had to join those who are defending Lebanon especially as a Christian myself. I felt that the Palestinians who became very powerful in Lebanon ought to be checked. And no one was checking them. The army, the Lebanese army in a way for certain reasons was neutralized. So I joined the militia and I took some training and bought a gun a kind of military gun. And so that was something I felt I had to do. Even though I was not myself a man made to fight you and to you know to join tough military action. But I thought at least I have to be a model for others.
But later on something happened something else I had learned from those people whom I had met first. They belonged to a movement called which was called at that time moral rearmament, now Initiatives of Change. They taught me that, they spoke to me about something called the quiet time which means every day taking some time by myself in quiet in order to listen to the deepest thing you know in my heart. And for a believer because I had become a believer you know listening to the small voice of God you know in my life. And so I kept this habit of giving time every morning to this interior listening if I may call it.
And one day, I was reading a chapter a page in the gospel before taking this quiet time and I read about Jesus saying: "My kingdom is not of this world, and that if my kingdom was of this world, my friends would have fought to defend me." So I said to myself I am fighting, I have joining the military action but as if God was telling me there is a superior battle to be fought, and that in a way this battle is not totally right because it's opposing communities like Christians on one side, Muslims on one side and I felt that this is not the best fight I should give my life to because I was taking risks, I mean big risks sometime. And in a way I felt in me a deep desire to join this superior you know battle. And I said to God what could I do. What should I do. But I didn't have any answer. But a few days later, I had a particular thought. Well, give up your arm your weapon. Give it up. Give it away. It was not easy to do that in a time of war of civil war but eventually I did that as a step.

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