They blew up my church with missiles. This is my response to ISIS.

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We have wanted to do a compilation of three videos that are testaments of faith, forgiveness, and unity among our Christian brothers and sisters in a state of persecution in the Middle East. Through their faith, we witness how the Christian word in front of hate is always mercy. Mercy does not serve as a shield against evil. It is our answer to showing God’s love.



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While watching these videos, I started thinking and it never ceases to surprise me:  Jesus endured many injustices that lead him to death. Yet every time I see the cross, I wonder Lord how did you overcome so much hate and evil? The Lord then responds with clarity: through forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) The only antidote against evil is none other than mercy.

The pain, the injustice, the hate that is part of the lives of our brothers in Iraq, hurts just as much as the evil place that one man resided on the cross more than 2,000 years ago. The martyrdom and suffering that was enforced on Christians on behalf of ISIS is the kind of behavior that we cannot conceptualize or imagine. Our heart as well as our human response towards these tragic events is “well they absolute do not deserve forgiveness”.


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In fact, Forgiveness is not deserved or worthy of merit. Once it is deserved, it stops being “forgiveness” and it would simply be justice. Also, when one expects forgiveness by saying, “you have to forgive me because I deserve it!” Forgiveness, as a matter of fact, is free because it stems from love. Therefore, whom do we forgive? We forgive those that do not deserve to be forgiven. Forgiving is difficult; it requires a big heart! Our human heart cannot fill so much. If you feel that there is not enough, perhaps you’re missing the opportunity to be close to God because in that closeness, our love multiplies and becomes worthy of nobility and more!


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A heat full of love and grace can be so noble that a priest in Iran, the refugee girl and the mother all agree, “I have to forgive, because grace is transmitted to the next generation.” Goodness is relentless and forgiveness is powerful because fear trembles in the presence of grace and it cannot fight against compassion or pardon. Man is not seeking personal revenge. He is looking beyond what’s there. He understands very well the Letter from the Romans, “Do not let evil win, before evil, beat it with the strength of goodness”.

If there is someone you’re struggling to forgive, perhaps this is the moment for you to grow and open your heart. It is not easy and it is not achieved overnight. However, perhaps today is a good day for reconciliation. Only forgiveness can bring peace.


Translated by Jennifer Gamez


Here the complete article for this video.


 

About Juan Jose Paniagua

Juan Jose Paniagua has written 6 post in this blog.

Father Juan Jose is a Peruvian priest that is currrently living in Lima. There, he is dedicated to working with the youth.

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