When we surround ourselves with only other Christians, it is easy to loose sight of what makes our faith unique. We begin to take for granted the simple things of our faith. While in Kashmir, I was surrounded by people who needed Christ. Their lack of what I had made it glaringly obvious to me that we have something special. When our complicated, Americanized faith is broken down to the core, what we really gained at the cross was forgiveness. Forgiveness is the rock solid foundation of our faith. What the people of Kashmir, and others elsewhere, are missing, is forgiveness.
Forgiveness allows us many things. It gives us access. It gives us freedom. It gives us peace, and it makes room for love. When Jesus died on the cross that chosen day, He did so for all of humanity, and he covered over our sins with His blood. He not only did this for us, but for those who looked forward to Him by the law, and for those who will come after us. It wasn’t just a one day event that we look back on and remember. He died so that in Him, our sinful nature we inherited from Adam would not have power over us.
But, not everyone has chosen to accept His forgiveness. Whole societies live in darkness and in condemnation. We, as Christians, often wonder how societies such as those in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Islamic nations can treat their people, especially women, the way that they do. We are amazed when we hear about rapes, burnings, and honor killings. But, really, this is the darkness of the world. The world is Satan’s and the Bible calls him the prince of the world. He aims to keep people in strongholds, and really, what we should stand more amazed at, is the light of Christ. It is because of Him, that we are not victims of this world ourselves.
Forgiveness is a potent thing. It is a miracle of God. It is not something anyone else can do. Without forgiveness people feel guilty. Their condemnation will take them down a path of apathy and depression. They will try to make up for their sin, and when they see that it is never enough, they will throw their hands up in defeat. Likewise, without first receiving forgiveness, one can not forgive others. So, people living without forgiveness will become bitter, angry, and harbor resentment. Eventually these things turn into rage and hate. Now we can really begin to understand the revenge and honor crimes committed in these places.
What would happen in these countries if they received God’s forgiveness? I talked to many Kashmiri’s who were in need of such a gift. This release would give way to love, peace, stability, and hope. Those living in condemnation, guilt, apathy, and depression would begin living a life of joy. They would see that they have a purpose in life, and they would see how loved and cherished they really are. They would also learn to forgive others and perhaps the generational cycle of hate, anger, and revenge would end. This does sound like a grand idea, but I know that with God anything is possible.