I spent the first part of January in Egypt with our mission team. Let me tell you, the word “forgiveness” means a little more over there. I wound up preaching five times to five different churches, many of them meeting in areas known for strong Islamic extremism—risking their lives to gather. I talked about having the courage to forgive. (At least I think that’s what I preached about. Eddie Yassa was my translator, so who knows what he said!)
I was scared to talk about forgiveness, honestly. You remember in December a bomb went off in the women and children’s section of St Mark’s Cathedral, a Coptic church downtown in Cairo? Twenty-five were killed. Imagine that happening in our city—God forbid... But in Egypt, every time the Christian minority is attacked the leaders talk of forgiveness. And when they do, they put Jesus on display in a way that shines so brightly all can see.
People can’t believe it. It doesn’t make any sense. How can you talk about forgiveness? There’s something about Christian forgiveness that gives veracity to the Bible, to the Gospel. It’s believable because it is such a foreign power. It intersects vertically from above. It’s alien. So it helps people see God.
I wanted to encourage them. The church in Egypt is on the world stage right now, and they are demonstrating the very nature of Jesus Christ for all to see!