By Rick Lewers

The awesome power of forgiveness

Mourners pray next to coffins of victims of the blast at Saint Mark’s church in Alexandria during a funeral procession on April 10, 2017. (Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

I wonder if you have noticed what terrorism and hate can't do?

When I consider the religious lunacy that our world is confronted by, it gives me cause to consider the value of my Christianity.

Christians can do something terrorists and haters seem powerless to do - forgive, extend mercy, exercise grace of God (undeserved love of God), love one's enemy. These are some of the great things Jesus Christ taught and the stuff of wisdom, not lunacy. To lose the capacity for forgiveness, mercy, grace and love is to lose what it means to be human.

When these are present, the contrast is extraordinary. Taken from a 2017 edition of Christianity To- day, here is an example of this by way of the terrorist attack on the Coptic Church in Egypt:

"Twelve seconds of silence is an awkward eternity on television. Amr Adeeb, perhaps the most prominent talk show host in Egypt, leaned forward as he searched for a response. 'The Copts of Egypt... are made of ... steel!' he finally uttered.

"Moments earlier, Adeeb was watching a colleague in a simple home in Alexandria speak with the widow of Naseem Faheem, the guard at St Mark's Cathedral in the seaside Mediterranean city. On Palm Sunday, the guard had redirected a suicide bomber through the perimeter metal detector, where the terrorist detonated his lethal weapon. Likely the first to die in the blast, Faheem saved the lives of dozens inside the church.

"'I'm not angry at the one who did this,' said his wife, children by her side. '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.' (A truth that captured her resurrection hope in Jesus Christ).

"Stunned, Adeeb stammered about Copts bearing atrocities over hundreds of years, but couldn't escape the central scandal. 'How great is this forgiveness you have!' his voice cracked. 'If it were my father I could never say this. But this is their faith and religious conviction.' Millions marvelled with him across the airwaves of Egypt as even in death, the Copts forgive. 'On the night of the bombings, addressing the terrorists, Orthodox priest Boules George said, 'I long to talk to you about our Christ, and tell you how wonderful He is.' But then turning to the church he said, 'How about we make a commitment today to pray for them? ... If they know that God is love and experience His love, they could not do these things-never, never, never.'"

Naseem Faheem's widow offers unconventional wisdom in the fight against terror and hate. She fights with weapons her opposition needs but has no understanding of, or capability to use.

Jesus Christ lay down his life as the weapon for disarmament and the end of terror. He held no AK47. He unmistakably changed the world with weapons not of this world. Where is the sanity and success that has come with us seeking vengeance, meeting force with force, hate with hate and terror with terror?

While the fool continues in murderous ways, the righteous will seek to love.

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