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Humbled by new believer’s forgiveness of persecutors


CENTRAL ASIA (BP)–A young believer’s Christ-like response to persecution shines brightly in this story found in “Voices of the Faithful,” author Beth Moore’s new book of daily devotionals from missionaries around the world:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not” (Ro. 12:14).

The local religious leader began to stir up the town’s people against a new follower of Jesus, a young man called N. Stones were gathered, and the villagers rushed to lay hold of N., dragging him to the predetermined place for stoning.

Just as the first stones were raised in the villagers’ hands, a sudden storm with a mighty wind and rain materialized. The deluge drove the villagers away. N. was shaken, but unharmed.

This angered the religious leader even more, and he made a plan with others to try again. Several days after the attempted stoning, the same young men seized N., holding him down while they kicked him, beat him and cut his throat. The young victim survived this brutality and was hospitalized.

We visited N. in the state hospital, offering legal advice and medical assistance. I told him, “This is illegal and is against your constitution. We can go to the state prosecutor, who will assist you.”

His response, however, was, “Thank you for your offer of help, but the Bible says to forgive those who persecute you. I am going back home and will visit with those who beat me. I will tell them that God forgave my sins. I forgive them.”

I was amazed at the spiritual maturity of this young believer. God revealed that even though a believer might be new in his faith, he is empowered by the Holy Spirit to withstand such persecution and to forgive. I was humbled by his example and resolved to learn from new believers.

— submitted by a Southern Baptist worker in Central Asia

Heavenly Father, please make these young believers strong when they are persecuted for Your sake. I pray that the forgiveness shown will win others to Christ. I pray that I, too, will bless and forgive those who persecute me or my loved ones. Even now, I forgive my enemies and pray for an opportunity to forgive them personally. Amen.
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