A few years ago, a 9-year-old Iraqi refugee girl powerfully reminded the world what it is to forgive — and to see hope — even in the face of evil. Her words and actions still pack a punch as we mark World Refugee Day this month.
In 2014, Myriam was uprooted from her home in Iraq by Islamic State and fled to a refugee camp with her family, away from her friends and everything familiar. On their rampage of death and destruction, ISIS militants drove thousands of Iraqi Christians like Myriam from their homes, leaving entire towns in ruins.
Yet Myriam — in the midst of a crowded refugee camp — astonished the world by sweetly and eloquently telling SAT-7 TV interviewer Essam Nagy that she forgave ISIS, she wished them no harm, and actually prayed the terrorists would come to know God’s forgiveness, too.
The indwelling power of her simple words of forgiveness was unleashed by satellite television, translated into multiple languages, and went viral on social media. Myriam’s innocence and fortitude in the midst of tragedy and turmoil endeared her to the hearts of millions around the world.
Myriam’s choice teaches us that if love is the most powerful of human expressions, forgiveness is a close second.
Forgiveness liberates both the offended and the offender, the former from resentment and bitterness, and the latter from retribution. Forgiveness does not ignore evil. It leaves the ultimate disposition for evil actions to a holy, just and sovereign God. Romans 12:19-21 (ESV) tells us: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to… God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
In 2019, Myriam, now 13, and her family are blessed to be back in their hometown in northern Iraq – and her example for people to forgive and to honor God in their lives is stronger than ever. “God is always with you,” Myriam says. “When you feel yourself alone, just go and talk with Him. You will find the right way.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rex Rogers