Forgiveness of others, even one’s enemies, is at the heart of the Christian faith, for it is an act of true love. “Freely you have received,” Jesus said, “freely give.” At the heart of the Lord’s Prayer, which every Christian knows and prays, is the petition, “Forgive us our trespasses/debts, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The prayer of Jesus on the cross models this pinnacle of love when he petitions his Father for mercy toward those crucifying him: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”
Islam, on the other hand, knows little of this kind of forgiveness. Muslims are encouraged to forgive fellow Muslims, but not required to. They are called to seek vengeance, though, against non-Muslims who have wronged them.
After the recent Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt, the wife of one of the Coptic believers slain in the terror attack is being interviewed on Egyptian TV. During the interview she declares that she bears no ill will toward the terrorists, but instead forgives them and prays they will come to understand the errors of their ways. After the clip has played, the Muslim news anchor who has just viewed the interview (along with the rest of us) responds with incredulity that any human beings could muster such love. If you want to see a clear testimony of how Jesus transforms lives in ways that Muhammad or Allah never can, please watch the video below — it is in Arabic, naturally, but the subtitling in English is very accurate.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/212755977″>Forgiveness Incarnated</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user22194617″>The Bible Society of Egypt</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>