I had lunch with an Iranian pastor today and among many other things, I got to hear him share about how hard it has been to learn to forgive as a Christian. Before the revolution, his father worked as a security officer for the king and when the revolution happened, his family lost everything and barely had food to eat. He and his family became a Christian after that time, and this doubled the hardship they experienced. He shared about how his brother-in-law was once going to work late at night and was stopped by a patrol. While reaching for his ID, they shot him and killed him, leaving his sister a widow with three children. In order to reclaim the body, the government demanded payment for the bullets, demanding an inexorbitant price for each bullet. As poor as they were, they were never able to reclaim the body. On another occasion, his nephew became extremely sick and yet his family could not afford to purchase medical care for him and he died a slow, painful death. He shared many other stories like this. He confessed his struggle to forgive those who had so harmed his family, and how he often refused to witness to government workers because he hated them and desired their damnation. But by God’s grace, after many years, he has learned to forgive them and even to pray for their salvation. It is still not easy, and he is still growing in this, but God is clearly at work in his life. It was powerful to see the emotion in his eyes as he shared all this. Today, as a pastor of a local church, he also seeks to help members of his congregation to forgive those who have persecuted them. Most recently, he is working with a mother whose Christian son was tortured to the point of kidney failure, encouraging her to find forgiveness and peace in Christ.
Pray for the Christians in Iran.