Christians are remarkable people, and the hope of the Middle East. And elsewhere.
Persecuted Iraqi Christians Offer Forgiveness to ISIS. ChristianHeadlines.com, February 20, 2018.
Iraqi Christians have endured so much at the hands of Islamic extremists. Since the militants took control over much of the Middle East in 2014 Iraqi Christians have faced discrimination, been forced to pay fines, been driven from their homes, and in some cases have even faced death. Nevertheless, they have chosen the path of forgiveness. “We forgive those who murdered us, who tortured us, who raped us, who sought to destroy everything about us. We forgive them in the name of Christ,” said Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil. “While it is true that our numbers are small, the Apostles were much smaller,” he added.
So many Iraqi Christians have either been killed or displaced that leaders worry their communities will never be restored. “So few of us are left, some estimate 200,000 Christians or less,” Warda said of the total number of Christians in the country, which The Christian Post reports is down from 1.5 million in 2003.
In the midst of this dire situation, there are small rays of hope, however. Last week, ChristianHeadlines.com reported on Christian ministry Open Doors’ effort to restore nearly 700 Iraqi Christian homes which were destroyed by ISIS. Iraqi Christians are a resilient people. Still, they will need help from the international community if they are to weather this storm. “It is critical time for the Christians of Iraq — ‘to be or not to be.’ The Christians of Iraq are facing their biggest and greatest challenge” in post-IS Iraq, stated Ashur Sargon Eskrya, president of the Assyrian Aid Society branch in Iraq.