Daily Riches: Divine Forgiveness After a Shooting Rampage (Kari Huus, John Rudolf and Steve Munson)

“In 2001, incited by the 9-11 attacks, a Texas man went on a shooting rampage and killed two people, severely wounding another. The wounded man, who lost an eye when the assailant sprayed him with shotgun pellets, survived because he shrewdly played dead. Ten years later, the State of Texas was set to execute the shooter, when the survivor unexpectedly stepped forward to plead for him. ‘If I can forgive my offender who tried to take my life,’ he told BBC News, ‘we can all work together to forgive each other and move forward and take a new narrative on the tenth anniversary of 11 September.’ In short, he was asking the State of Texas to turn the other cheek, as he had done, the very cheek that was still full of pellets. Texas, long known for the conservative evangelicalism of its governors, refused, and the shooter, Mark Stroman, a white supremacist, was executed. His victim, Rais Bhuiyan, is a Muslim immigrant born in Bangladesh. As Rais explained, it was while on pilgrimage in Mecca after the attack that he received a ‘ray of light’ regarding forgiveness and compassion. Drawing on his own faith, he decided not only to forgive Stroman but also to take the further step to try to save him from execution. ‘The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God,’ he said. ‘My faith teaches me that saving a life is like saving the entire human race.’ In this quest Rais was joined by the widows and family members of the two other victims killed during Stroman’s anti-Muslim rampage, a Pakistani and a Hindu from India. ‘We decided to forgive him and want to give him a chance to be a better person,’ said the brother-in-law of one of the slain. Bhuiyan also received a great deal of encouragement from all over the world, even from fellow Muslims back in Pakistan.” Steve Munson

“But I say, love your enemies!”
Jesus in Matthew 5:44

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does this story sound to you like a parable Jesus might tell? And if so, what would be the parable’s point?
  • “The Qur’an teaches that those who forsake retribution and forgive those who have wronged them become closer to God.” Doesn’t the Bible teach this too?
  • A Muslim, a Pakistani and a Hindu walk into a courtroom …. It a tragic story, not the beginning of a joke. Why kind of emotions arise when you contemplate this story.

Jesus, may I follow you in forgiveness and love.

For More: Muslims, Christians and Jews by Carl Medearis


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog! – Bill