- - Friday, October 30, 2015

“I invited my neighbor over for tea. I am Christian, my neighbor is Muslim,” said Abid, a father and husband who lives in a city of the Middle East, in a Third World area, that has 1.7 million people and where a recent survey reveals that in this city there are only 1,000 Christians remaining.

Abid continued, “As soon as the tea was served, my neighbor reached into his coat and pulled out a .22-caliber pistol. He said to me, ‘This is for you because you are a Christian.’ He then fired the weapon at me at point-blank range, putting several bullets into my abdomen. My teen-age sons ran into the room when they heard the shooting. My neighbor also began shooting and wounding my sons when they entered the room. It was only when my neighbor ran out of bullets that he stopped shooting all of us.”

As this faithful follower of Jesus lay on the floor bleeding, he was helped to a local hospital where he was wheeled into surgery. Since that day last year, Abid, which is not his real name, has endured multiple major surgeries.

Both he and his sons survived the shooting that day - surviving physically and spiritually. While they survived physically, they experience classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the case of Abid and his family, one could call this “faith-based” PTSD. The family took me to the room in their home where the shooting had occurred. Bullet holes still pock-mark several of the walls, and a window has a bullet hole. The room is dusty and has not been used since the time of the shooting. “It is difficult to sit in this room,” Abid said. “Our minds are flooded with the memories of that night.”

As I sat with him and his family in this home one sweltering evening, I asked Abid to show me where he was wounded. He lifted his shirt to reveal multiple scars that crisscross his torso revealing an ugly pattern of what it cost this man to live for Jesus Christ in a city that reviles Jesus.

“Abid”, I ask, “How is your faith after this incident?” Speaking in a raspy voice that is only a whisper due to his multiple intubations and radical surgery, he strains to speak. “I know why my neighbor shot me and my sons. It is because I love Jesus. It is because our family follows Jesus the Christ.” Abid continued, “All of us in our family love our city. We have lived here for generations. Even though this happened to me, to us, to my family … this trauma, this horrible experience, we will never stop loving Jesus. We will never stop serving Jesus. We have no fear … we remain in the same house, living our lives, sharing the love of Jesus with all of our Muslim neighbors. I love our neighbor who shot me. He is not our enemy. We love him in Jesus.”

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