When the floodgates of Grace open, the weak become strong, and the poor become rich. Through forgiveness, Iraq Christians get through the throne room of Grace.

Iraqi Christians lighting candles. Opening the floodgates of grace.
Iraqi Christians lighting candles.
Photo credit: Jim Forest on Visual Hunt

God commands us to forgive each other as He has forgiven us for our sins. But that’s the last thing we want to do. Let us find out how the Iraqis can open the floodgates of Grace through forgiveness.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Matthew 18:21-22

Opening the Floodgates of Grace Through Forgiveness

It is difficult to forgive, especially when it’s a matter of life and death with persecution and torture. Resentment oppresses and torments the mind and causes the heart to fail. It inflicts injury deeper than physical wounds and pain. Bitterness is poison, a silent killer.

Forgiveness is the actual solution in dealing with injustice, not vengeance. It is how the floodgates of grace are open to the abundant life in Jesus, an abundant life of peace. Forgiveness is giving up bitterness and resentment. And the Iraqis can put their enemies in God’s hands and even pray for them.

Iraqi Christians can have the freedom to forgive their enemies. It ushered them to the throne room of Grace. The shield that protects their hearts and minds. Despite the inhumane treatment, they receive from their enemies. And this opens the floodgates of Grace in their lives, despite the persecutions they are facing.

Cardinal Nichols visits a Christian Shelter at Erbil in Iraq. grace
Cardinal Nichols visits a Christian Shelter at Erbil in Iraq.
Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) on Visual Hunt

Overflowing Grace Through Forgiveness

Iraqi Christians undergo many trials every day. Forgiveness for their circumstances gives them grace. Sources from the Christian outreach organization Open Doors describe how Iraqi Christians survive their torments through belonging, gratitude, and forgiveness.

The church is the most important pillar in Iraqi Christian’s lives. It became a genuine family for everyone displaced from their families, their communities, their villages. They found grace in a loving family of God.

The love of God contented the Iraqi Christians with just the necessities of food and clothing. They were thankful and happy. They realized that they can lose material things by theft, explosion, or displacement anytime. 

The church is a place for a real fellowship for them. They know each other and care for one another. They share whatever they have and witness to one another. The church doors are open even to other religions.

They feel related to the experiences of the people of faith mentioned in the Bible, their sufferings for their faith in Jesus. With a forgiving heart, grace comes flowing like the waves of the sea and looks at persecution as a high price and a privilege for their faith.

Cardinal Nichols visits Fr. Douglas Al-Bazi at Erbil Iraq (grace)
Cardinal Nichols visits Fr. Douglas Al-Bazi at Erbil Iraq.
Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales) on Visual Hunt

Story of Forgiveness

The Islāmic military captured Fr. Douglas Al-Bazi, an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic priest, for nine days and subjected him to a harrowing night of torture. Sources at billygraham.org report that Al-Bazi never screamed, complained, or pleaded for his life. He refused water after they withheld it for four days. This annoyed and sometimes puzzled his captors.

While he was imprisoned, he began a strange relationship with his captors. In the daytime he served as their spiritual advisor, answering all of their questions. However, when night fell, he resumed being their tortured prisoner. On the ninth day, they unloaded him to freedom after a ransom fee. That day, his captors asked for his forgiveness.

Fr. Bazi said that Iraqi Christians need to show their persecutors the true light of Jesus. Without Christians, they will abolish Iraq forever. They are the only example of forgiveness and peace.

Amazing Grace through His Forgiveness

We have this Amazing Grace after we received God’s forgiveness, and from His fullness, we have all received grace for grace. (Jn. 3:16)

It is like the waves in the ocean that come wave for wave. It is the gift of God that whoever receives and uses it, God rewards and gives more grace. It is the goodness of God.

The Iraqi Christians may not see this amid torments. But they know that God is with them. It is through hardship and persecution that Jesus becomes real to them. When they only have each other, they know what it means to have Jesus in their hearts. And this is an Amazing Grace.

It is the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that is with them. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14

Forgiveness is the power for all the blessings of God in us. It is His Forgiveness that ushered us to the throne room of God the Father. And our Forgiveness towards others leads us to the throne room of Grace. Amazing Grace, our righteousness of God in Christ.