A 12-year-old Iraqi Christian girl who was burnt by Islamic State (IS) has asked her mother to forgive her killers.
She died in hospital after her family’s home was burnt down with her inside.
Reports from Iraq suggest that the child was in the shower when her mother was asked to pay a special religious charge handed out to minorities like Christians, Shia and Alawite Muslims.
Her mother said she would pay, but reportedly asked the militants to wait until her daughter had come out of the shower.
The fighters refused and set fire to the bathroom that the child was inside.
Human rights advocate from Road of Success, Jacqueline Isaac, told The Telegraph: “The ISIS [Islamic State) foreign fighters were at her door and they told her ‘you have two choices, you are to leave now or you are to pay the jizya’.
“She said ‘I will pay, give me a few seconds my daughter is in the shower’.
“They said ‘you don’t have a few seconds’ and they lit the house with a torch from the bathroom the daughter was showering in.”
Ms Isaac was speaking during a conference on persecuted Christians in New York.
She told the audience that the daughter escaped, but died in hospital after her injuries.
She said the child asked her mother to forgive those that hurt her.
“The daughter had four degree burns and the mother took her daughter, scrambling, doing anything to save her.
“Rushed her to the hospital and her daughter died in her arms. The last thing her daughter said: ‘Forgive them,’ ” she said.
Forgiveness is a powerful word. It is powerful because it calls for us- not just a part of ourselves, but our entire selves to wholeheartedly pardon another persons intentional or unintentional effort to hurt us. Forgiveness calls for us to not retaliate in (albeit sometimes) justified anger and frustration, but to extend a warm heart to our accusers in the face of their own hatred toward us.
I wonder what we can learn from this young girl about forgiveness?
It is very difficult to forgive someone when they are spitting in your face. Even if you could forgive them in your heart, physically extending a warm gesture of love to your perpetrator whilst they are in the middle of an offence is on another level. How many of us still harbor some resentment or anger toward those who have done us wrong? This indeed proves that to forgive someone is not an easy feat when performed in our own strength. So how can we truly forgive someone?
Firstly, it is important to remember that true pure hearted forgiveness comes from a revelation of God. He is the only one who can truly help us heal, and look beyond our pain to forgive another.
I wonder if this story about the little girl who died caused you to cast your mind on;
- The forgiveness that Jesus extended to his persecutors in Luke 23:34
- The plea for forgiveness that Steven extended to his murderers in Acts 7:60
They were both horrifically assaulted (both assaults leading to their death) and yet they still made the decision to forgive.
I wonder if true forgiveness can only be extended when our hearts have been so completely given over in willful submission to God that it doesn’t need an explanation or an apology.
True forgiveness occurs when we can detach our feelings and emotions from a situation in order to see another’s need; always believing that It is God who delivers judgment, and hoping in the best that ‘if they truly knew better, they would do better’.
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