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Called to mercy, one woman finds the grace to forgive her assailants



Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 09/13/18

A Nigerian Christian who survived a horrifying terrorist attack offers example of loving forgiveness.

Although Christ calls his followers to “love your enemies,” putting this into practice may be one of his toughest teachings. Yet some Christians astound us by living out this forgiveness in nearly impossible circumstances. Watch this video to learn about Amina Yakubu, a Nigerian Christian woman who found her way to an act of supernatural forgiveness.

Amina experienced a nightmarish horror when Muslim Fulani warriors attacked her village of Kataru, as told in this article. Six months pregnant and with two small children, she awoke in a panic when the attack began in the middle of the night on April 22, 2011. She tried to escape over a fence behind her home, and did manage to get her children over the fence, but as she followed them a bullet shattered her leg and she fell to the ground.

A friend dragged her back into her house to try to hide, but the attackers followed the trail of blood from her leg and broke into the home. They slashed her brutally with machetes, leaving deep wounds all over her head, arms and neck.

“I am finished today,” Amina cried as she tried to block the blades with her arms. “Oh God, forgive me.” The attackers finally left, but not before setting much of the village on fire.

The Nigerian army transported Amina to a hospital, where she spent the next four months recovering. Suturing all of her wounds took the doctors six days. Worst of all, the trauma was too much for her unborn baby, who was stillborn. Amina suffered greatly throughout the months of her recovery, both from the physical pain and the emotional agony.

One day in the hospital, her husband asked her, “Those that did this to you, if they brought them to you and you saw them, what would you say should be done to them?” She gestured to her fractured right leg and said she would treat her attackers as they had treated her.

“Won’t you forgive them?” he asked.

“I will never forgive them,” she said.

As time passed, however, Amina read several passages from Scripture that speak of God’s forgiveness—and his call for us to forgive as he does. She knew she had to obey. Eventually, Amina told her husband about her change of heart.

“If I see those that attacked me, even if today they are arrested and brought to me, I have forgiven them,” she told him. “All this suffering I am going through, even before it happened, I know that the Lord had already known and he has written it, that at so and so time I will find myself in this suffering. Therefore, I will forgive them for everything they did to me.”

Given the horror of what Amina experienced, it would be understandable if she never found it in her heart to forgive her assailants. Her choice to forgive reveals the working of God’s grace, offering a powerful witness of Christian mercy and love.

Read more:
Christ calls us to a ‘difficult logic’: Pope says we need to pray blessings on our enemies today

Look Up StoriesNigeriaPracticing Mercy
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