"We forgive the Hindu radicals who attacked us, who burned our homes...They were out of their minds, they don't know the love of Jesus."
These are the words of a 10 year old girl, a young Christian from a Christian family residing in the Indian State of Orissa. Throughout the past year, Christians in Orissia have experienced a concerted violent campaign against them waged by militant Hindus. (For a detailed account of the violence, see here.) One of the many attacks was carried out against this girl's home. The house was burned, but everyone escaped injury. However, the perpetrators left behind a nasty surprise; a bomb hidden in a dresser drawer which when detonated burned the little girl's face and inflicted shrapnel wounds on 40% of her body. (An article describing in greater detail the attack and the girl's injuries can be seen here. Warning: the article contains a picture of the girls face after the attack and her recovery.)
Violence against innocents is happening all over the world, not just against Christians. In Afghanistan, girls who attend school have been targeted by Islamic militants. These militants oppose the education of females, and in one case, they threw acid on young school girls. In another attack, acid was thrown in the face of a female teacher. (Warning: This link contains a photograph of the teacher's face after the attack.) When those responsible for this act were caught, the teacher insisted that the attackers have acid thrown in their faces. It is not difficult to understand her anger at the pain and permanent damage inflicted upon her and her desire for revenge.
But the 10 year old Indian girl has not called for revenge against those whose actions permanently disfigured her. She has publicly proclaimed her forgiveness of the Hindus who did this to her. She is not bitter against God for allowing this to happen to her but thanks God for her deliverance: "Christmas is the time to thank baby Jesus who saved me from the fire and saved my face which was disfigured and wounded." What does she see as she looks into the future? She proclaims her desire to use what happened to her to glorify God by praising Him for saving her life and by allowing the love of God to shine through her disfigured face. "The world has seen my face destroyed by the fire, now it must come to know my smile full of love and peace...I want to dedicate my life to the spreading of the Gospel."