By Mark Ellis —
His 25-year-old brother was tortured and killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Consumed with hate, he wanted to avenge the atrocity, but Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount shook him to the core.
“When the Taliban found out my brother was a Christian they hung him upside down, broke his hands and fingers, and burned his face with cigarettes,” Alborz* shared with SAT-7 PARS. “They put that child of God through the most dreadful torment and killed him.”
Alborz was overwhelmed with rage, giving little thought to the idea of forgiving his brother’s killers, even though he was a nominal Christian himself. “He found himself in a constant state of distress and anger, with a strong desire for revenge,” according to SAT-7.
“Feelings of hate became my constant companion,” Alborz said. “The anguish and bitterness that filled my being took its toll and soon I found myself with no friends. Even at home I did not speak with kindness to those around me.”
One day his father, also a Christian, told Alborz: “You must forgive those who killed my son.”
Alborz was startled, because fathers in Afghanistan often demand that siblings avenge a murdered child, but Alborz’s father had been a Christian for more than 30 years.
Alborz was raised in Iran where it was illegal to be a Christian or own a Bible. “I didn’t grow-up with the right Biblical teaching,” he explains. “It was only when we returned to Afghanistan that my brother, then 24, was able to find a Bible that we started to read. I considered myself a Christian, but my faith was weak.
“So, when my father told me that I must forgive my brother’s killers or it would destroy my life, I could not accept it.’”
For three years Alborz wrestled internally with the idea of forgiveness and had more conversations with his father. He also read the New Testament, which greatly impacted him.
“The words of Jesus about anger, revenge, and forgiveness had a huge impact on me,” he told SAT-7. “Reading the Sermon on the Mount truly shook me. My tears flowed, my heart softened, and I finally forgave the Taliban. That moment the burden I had been carrying was lifted from me.
“For the last eight years I have been a genuine believer and I am now able to forgive. I have a great joy in my heart that God has placed there.
“My prayer is that the Lord will touch the hearts of Afghans. I also pray for the wonderful people of Iran and pray for those who are weak in their faith, as I once was, to be strengthened in their conviction.”
* Name changed for security purposes. Images are illustrative.
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