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forgivenessWe live in a world that is ideologically divided on many levels.  Sadly, violence seems to be the rule rather than the exception, with increasing persecution of Christians worldwide.

That’s exactly what occurred on Palm Sunday.  A terrorist strapped with explosives detonated himself at the entrance to St. Mark’s Cathedral, a Coptic Christian sanctuary in Egypt.  Shock spread around the globe as the world wondered why innocent victims are targeted.

A few days after the attack, Amr Adeeb, a prominent talk show host in Egypt, leaned forward in his chair, silent for seconds as he emotionally stammered his words, “The Copts of Egypt … are made of … steel!”  Just a few moments before, an interview with the widow of  Naseem Faheem, the guard at St. Mark’s Cathedral, had been viewed.

That Sunday, Faheem had redirected the suicide bomber through the perimeter metal detector when the bomb detonated. Faheem was the first to lose his life, but likely saved the lives of dozens inside the church from his actions.

Faheem’s wife, with children by her side, said, “I’m not angry at the one who did this. I’m telling him, ‘May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you.’  You put my husband in a place I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

The TV anchor was stunned as he shared the horrendous atrocities the Copts have had to bear over hundreds of years.  “How great is this forgiveness you have!” his voice cracked. “If it were my father, I could never say this.  How great a faith and religious conviction you have”

The forgiveness this young Copt woman spoke about is the foundation of faith.  That’s the secret to it all.  You can never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you. But that’s hard to imagine.

 

And it is even harder to consider the thought of forgiving the one who hurt you.  Look at Christ’s example, as He went from disciple to disciple in that Upper Room, washing the feet of his disciples on this earth.

 

He finished his job … he left no one out … even the feet of Judas …  His betrayer.  It wasn’t easy then … it’s not easy now … but it shows that God never calls you to do what He hasn’t done himself.

 

John 13:12-17                      When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer robe, he sat down again and told them, “Do you realize what I’ve done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right because that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you must also wash one another’s feet.  I’ve set an example for you, so that you may do as I have done to you.  Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and a messenger isn’t greater than the one who sent him.  If you understand these things, how blessed you are if you put them into practice!

Tagged: Coptic Christians, forgiveness, foundation of faith, Jesus Christ, love of God, persecution, sacrifice

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