We reported several days ago about how Muslim terrorists launched a horrible attack on a Christian church in Egypt. In response, Christians told the Muslims who did the attack that they forgiven them for this sin:
Christians in Egypt have forgiven those responsible for the deadly suicide bombing at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Cairo, which left 24 Christians dead and 49 others injured, Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos told The Christian Post on Wednesday
Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced on Monday that it was 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohammed Mustafa who entered the church attached to the St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral on Sunday morning and detonated a 12-kilogram explosive that killed mostly Christian women and children.
Additionally, four others — three men and one woman — have been arrested on suspicion that they aided the suicide bomber in the terror plot.
Although the Egyptian government initially believed that the Muslim Brotherhood was responsible for the attack, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and issued a statement that identified the suicide bomber by the nom-de-guerre Abu Abdallah al-Masri.
But regardless of who is responsible for the attack, Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, told CP in a phone interview that the persecuted Coptic Christian community will not respond to the attack with vengeance.
“Historically in Egypt, after everyone of these attacks or similar attacks, of course there has been anger and public outcry, but there hasn’t been retaliation or revenge,” Angaelos explained. “That is one thing that we are very thankful for.”
“As a church, we really haven’t blamed anybody. We are waiting for a formal investigation,” Angaelos continued. “If IS has claimed responsibility it doesn’t make it any more or less painful. Our pain is in the loss of people. Our pain is in a mindset and a conscience that can actually carry out this kind of act, whoever it is.”
As private funeral services for the victims were held on Monday, community members organized a public candlelight vigil Wednesday evening in downtown Cairo that was attended by dozens of mourners. Additionally, another vigil and prayer service was held at Westminster Abbey in London, which was led by Angaelos and attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Egypt’s Ambassador to the U.K., Nasser Kamel, among other leaders from across the religious spectrum.
“We are praying that there is healing in the community. We are ready to and we already have forgiven people for doing this because at the end of the day, a lack of forgiveness harms us more than anyone else,” Angaelos told CP. “I think that is something that we need to be mindful of as Christians, and I am very proud to say that this is something we have seen Copts doing very naturally and organically for decades.” (source)
Do not mistake my words, I am not saying that one needs to be a “push over,” or that one simply needs to just say “I’m sorry” and all is better. Action is what counts, and words must be backed by deeds. However, the point to emphasize here is this case shows so clearly how Christianity and Islam are inherently an irreconcilably different.
For the Muslim, “justice” is valued first, and their measure for what constitutes “justice” is Mohammed, who as his own followers and believers tell us was an inherently unjust man who loved power, money, and the pursuit of illicit pleasure and saw this as a reward for propagating his heresy. Mercy for Islam is at best a secondary quality of belief. There is no concept of forgiving others for doing wrong, because man is not made in God’s image and likeness, and if anything it is more important for the other person to experience the consequence of his actions.
Christianity is the opposite. Mercy and justice are held as equals, reflecting the nature of God, Who is Love. Forgiveness of one’s enemies, no matter how hard and even if the other person does not forgive you, is a requirement. Love of all, not license to their behavior, is the rule of life.
That is the difference between Christianity and Islam, and between truth and falsehood. The former will seek your objective good because it is right, and the latter will seek your good if and only when it benefits itself and if regarded as necessary will attempt to destroy you. The former is a reflection of Heaven, while the latter is a reflection of hell.
God has forgiven and will forgive terrorists for their sins if they repent and turn away from their evils to follow Him. Just look at St. Paul. Or if you want to speak to somebody, just ask Walid. That is why one must, no matter how hard it is, continue to pray for the men who did this attack. Who knows- maybe there is another Paul or Walid somewhere among them who just needs a touch of grace to bring him from the path that leads to perdition onto the road that leads to life.
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. -Matthew 6:15