I recently listened to a BYU Devotional in which LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley simply related from his life “Experiences Worth Remembering.” One of the last experiences he shared was this:
I had a long remembered experience with Mr. Shimon Peres of Israel. He was a former Prime Minister. He had seen much of conflict and trouble in his days. I asked him if whether there was any solution to the great problems that constantly seem to divide the people of Israel and the Palestinians. He replied, “Of course there is!” As I recall he said, “When we were Adam and Eve we were all one. Is there any need for us now to be divided into segments with hatred for one another?”
He then told an very interesting story that he said he had heard from a Muslim. The Muslim told of a Jewish Rabbi who was conversing with two of his friends, the Rabbi asked one of the men, “How do you know when the night is over and a new day has begun?”
His friend replied, “When you look into the East and can distinguish a sheep from a goat, then you know the night is over and the day has begun.”
The second was asked the same question. He replied, “When you look into the distance and can distinguish an olive tree from a fig tree, then you know morning has come.”
They then asked the Rabbi how he could tell when the night is over and the day begins. He thought for a time and then said, “When you look into the East and see the face of a woman and you can say, ‘She is my sister.’ and when you can look into the East and see the face of a man and can say, ‘He is my brother.’ then you know the light of a new day has come.
I’m currently reading a book named The Anatomy of Peace from which I chose the title for this post. One of the ideas presented is that when we treat people as objects, we are at war with them and bad things happen. When we start to see others as real people, not objects, the whole world changes before us.
Like so many things, it’s simple, but very hard to do.