Chapter 25 Adilah: Do I Have to Like Them?

Adilah and Anne had become the primary woodworkers for their community. Every evening they spent time making chairs, tables and shelving.

“There was a time I would have thought that only men could do this kind of thing,” said Adilah, blowing away wood-dust from the plank she was sanding. “We weren’t allowed to touch any tools, other than the things we needed for cooking. I guess the militia were worried we might use them to attack them.”

Anne nodded but kept her eyes on the table leg she was nailing into place. “I had to learn some of these skills when I was a little girl, but I never got to use them much once I became a wife. But here we are, and we can make so many things.”

Anne hammered home the last nail and turned the table over.

“There, that looks good to me,” she said with a sense of satisfaction.

She glanced up and immediately recognised the expression on Adilah’s face.

“Are you ok?”

“It’s just… whenever something sparks a memory of those men, the militia, I feel so many things. I feel angry, and worried. I know in my head they aren’t here and that I’m safe, but I feel they don’t deserve to be raised and live again… at all.”

“I can understand that, Adilah, and the important thing is that you are honest. As you know, I was killed by a mob of men in the Previous Age. When I was raised, I had to learn to trust again. It was difficult, but I knew it was something I had to do.”

“Were you able to forgive those men who killed you?” asked Adilah.

“I think there are levels of forgiveness. First, there is the decision not to hate, and then there is the decision to let go of any desire for revenge. Both of those stages took a long time and many tears as I gradually allowed agape love to change my heart. It was only then that I felt ready and able to connect with those who had hurt me – reconciliation, I guess. In my experience, forgiveness is one of the hardest but also one of the most divinely inspired things we can learn.”

“I am not there yet,” said Adilah quietly. “Whenever I see their faces in my mind, I still want to hurt them. I want them to feel the fear we felt.”

“Well, at least you are able to identify where you are on the journey, and that’s really positive. And you know, you don’t ever have to like them.”

“But… I thought I had to love them?”

“Forgiveness is part of agape love – it flows from it. But that’s not the same as having a personal friendship with someone. No one is asking you to be friends with everyone in the world. We will always have a circle of people we are close to and feel comfortable with. But with more than a hundred billion people coming to live on the New Earth, it will be impossible to be close friends with everyone. But it will be possible to treat everyone we come across with an attitude of agape love.”

“You know, Anne, that makes sense and it makes me feel better about it.”

“Yes, it’s good to know that no one is expecting us to ‘cuddle up’ to those who abused and hurt us. When we are all together in Zion, you may never even see them. But, if you do, you will be ready and you’ll know what to do. Ruach, the one you call ‘Friend’, will guide you.”

“Well, I want to be ready, but I don’t want to pretend.”

“That’s good,” Anne reassured her. “We certainly cannot trick Jesus or Ruach. They know when we are ready to be invited to Zion, and it will take just the right amount of time for each person. A heart that wants to progress and desires to be in Zion has much to gain. It’s just that Ruach can see if someone is genuinely wanting to live by agape love or if they are seeking rewards for themselves.”

“I know I can’t trick Ruach. She searches my heart for truth,” agreed Adilah.

“Ruach is always working from and towards agape love. That is the very essence of God. Papa God, Jesus and Ruach cannot be or do anything else.”

“But I feel we have the choice of whether we follow their way or not. We know the way they want us to go, but they don’t demand it, do they?”

“Indeed, that’s why it’s always an invitation. Nothing is forced, nothing is coerced. Agape love is like an open door and we can choose to go through it or not, but the more we act in love, the more natural it becomes for us. Like anything, it takes time to learn and practice. You may find regular meditation helps – thirty minutes each day just being quiet and still.”

Adilah looked over to where Eshe was building the fire with some of the other women.

“My sister,” said Adilah, nodding in Eshe’s direction, “she taught me to how to love, even in the darkest place.”

“Sometimes that’s where love shines the brightest, isn’t it? Love can exist in the most dreadful suffering and bring meaning and hope. There have been countless attempts to stamp love out, but it has never worked. Love is strong, even though it can appear weak.”

Adilah nodded, still looking at Eshe. “We were weak, we had no power, and we were captives. But we could still love each other.”

Eshe noticed Adilah looking at her and waved at her sister. She crossed her eyes, poked out her tongue and laughed.


It had not taken long at the beginning of the new jubilee period for the community to settle into a regular routine with the women initially gravitating towards the jobs they knew well and felt confident doing. As the months and years went by, many of the women took on the challenge of different tasks and began to learn new skills, partly for the sake of variety in their daily lives, but also from the desire to get to know others in the community through working together.

The tree-top houses were comfortable homes, and many of the friendliest animals came to share these dwellings with the women. Bush babies, koalas, pandas, sloths and all kinds of birds became part of everyday life, bringing much delight to the community.

“The bush babies are overeating,” remarked Eshe to Adilah one morning.

“How do you know?” asked Adilah.

“Look at their poo. Their tummies are upset. I think we should ask everyone to stop giving them treats from the food that we eat,” continued Eshe, her hands on her hips.

Later, Adilah spoke to Anne.

“We love our animal neighbours and don’t want to do anything to harm them, but we’ve got to learn what is best for them,” explained Adilah.

Anne nodded. “Yes, we need to be good stewards of creation even here on the New Earth. There may no longer by any disease or death, but we still have a duty of care towards all the living things around us.”

“That was always our job, wasn’t it?”

“It was meant to be. But in the Previous Age we forgot that caring for the Earth is one of the ways that we look after ourselves. We now know that we need Ruach’s guidance to care for creation in the best possible way.”

“And animals care for us in their own way, too,” Adilah remarked.

“Yes, they do. They bring their special wonder to creation, and they bring us comfort and delight and help us in our work.”

“It’s best when we can work together with them to look after our world,” said Adilah.

“That is certainly the most beautiful way for us to be with our animal friends,” agreed Anne.

Eshe approached them, drying her hands with a cloth. “I’ve looked into it and I reckon we’ve been giving them too many sugary things from the food we make.”

From then on, everyone in the community was careful not to give the bush babies snacks meant for human stomachs. Instead, some of the women spent time developing a range of new snacks based on the bush babies’ natural diet so that everyone could still enjoy giving them the occasional treat.