A Crushed Rose

A few weeks ago, a Pakistani village erupted into anti-Christian violence. It was like a contemporary Crystal Night—except this time the mob was not German, it was Muslim, and the victims were not Jewish, they were Christian. The carnage took place in Khanewal, Pakistan, where Muslims were stirred up by their mullahs, or spiritual leaders. The mullahs spread rumors that Christians had scribbled derogatory slogans on pages of the Koran, the Islamic scriptures. Enraged, some 30,000 Muslims descended on the frightened villagers with guns, homemade bombs, and Molotov cocktails. To shouts of "Allah is great," the mob looted hundreds of homes, churches, and businesses and then set them ablaze. Rioters broke crosses off the tops of churches while they taunted Christians, asking, "Where is your Jesus now? Bring Him to put out the fire." The Pakistani army finally dispersed the mob, but more than 700 homes and shops were left in ruins. Thousands of people lost everything they owned. And yet that night, the Christians of Khanewal responded exactly as the Bible commands: They knelt beside the smoking ruins of their churches—and prayed for their persecutors. A few days after the attack, the Islamic government sent in two truckloads of relief supplies. Unbelievably, the Christians of Khanewal—many with nothing but the clothes they were wearing—turned the trucks back. "Tell the prime minister that we don’t need Muslim charity," they told the drivers. "Our brothers and sisters in Christ will take care of us." And Pakistan’s tiny Christian community did take care of them. Within two weeks of the attack, some 50 truckloads of food, clothing, and household goods arrived in Khanewal from other Pakistani Christians, who are—remember—among the poorest people in the world. Nurses from a Christian hospital even sent their own bedding. What a stunning story of Christian faithfulness. Instead of turning on their oppressors, those Pakistani villagers returned Muslim hatred with Christian love. And by refusing the government aid, they gave a striking demonstration of their faith in God. The response by other Christians throughout the nation of Pakistan was equally striking, as they gave sacrificially to help their persecuted brethren. The disciples of Jesus once asked Him if a man blind from birth was afflicted because of his own sin or because of his parents’. Jesus replied that the man’s suffering was intended so "the works of God might be made manifest in him." The suffering of the church in Pakistan has likewise manifested the works of God. The faith and love of these Christians are a glorious witness to the reality of the God they serve, and to his character. Like a rose that is crushed, they give off a beautiful perfume to all around. As we celebrate the Resurrection, let’s remember to pray for the persecuted church in Pakistan and around the world. Pray, as well, that when you and I face suffering, we too will have the courage to show forth the love of God. For the character of God’s people is the most powerful witness that Jesus Christ indeed rose from the grave—and that He is alive today.


Chuck Colson


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