Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged in Iran last week for what, at worst, would be a crime of passion in the US (and perhaps just self defense). The world has been mesmerized by the haunting beauty of the letter she wrote to her mother just before she died (read it here).
Not since reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini have I encountered so much tragedy and beauty wrapped in such eloquent prose. The difference here, of course, is that this narration is about real life and the author is now dead. The world won’t hear any more from this young lady. This is an incredible tragedy.
Still worse, is the utter hopelessness of even her “hope”. Toward the end of the letter she tells of her dreams of eternal revenge and a cold court of justice. But this dream is really little hope at all. In a world where revenge is the ultimate aim there can never be peace.
After all, what dreams might her tormentors have upon their own destruction? What aspirations would they have? Are they the embodiment of evil this young woman justly envisions them to be? Or are they too victims of a doomed spiral of hate and violence?
We see this playing out in the Israeli-Palesinian conflict. Where children on both sides grow up hating the other for what they did to their forefathers. This eye for an eye for an eye spiral has played out over the centuries across the world.
Jesus was challenged with a situation just like this. A group of religious rulers brought a woman accused of a capital crime to Him. When asked if they should carry out their laws and stone her, Jesus went right to the heart of the matter. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And there he gave a real example of the now famous golden rule. “… whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them …”
There is hope for the likes of Reyhaneh Jabbari, though perhaps not for her anymore. There is hope that the beautiful people of the Middle-East would receive the Christ and escape their cycle of death and destruction.
Revenge is a hollow hope. It is a trojan horse that is filled with venomous serpents. Pray for the peace of Jesus Christ over the Middle-East. Pray for physical peace and legal justice, but do not be fooled into thinking they can happen without Jesus.