Steven Faltas, a board member for the Saint George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, BC, Canada, silently watched his church being completely gutted by a fire in the early morning of July 19, 2021.
It was one of 57 churches that have been vandalized or burned to the ground across Canada in response to the discovery of unmarked graves at Indian Residential schools across Canada.
The vast majority of the schools were operated by either the Roman Catholic or Anglican church, and Saint George was among several targeted that had nothing to do with the Indian Residential School program set up by the Canadian government in the late 1800s.
Yet it was blamed, leading some to suggest that those who hate Christianity are simply using the graves as justification to express their hatred.
A CCTV camera caught a Caucasian woman trying unsuccessfully to set fire to Saint George Coptic church five days before it burned to the ground.
But as Christians, there can only be one response.
Charisma News reported on a recent vigil held in front of the charred remains of the Saint George Coptic church, where the congregation members did two things.
First, they forgave and secondly, they vowed to rebuild.
Speaking on behalf of the church, Faltas said:
“The only thing that we can say to those perpetrators is that as Christian believers we forgive you. We obviously would love to have our church still standing but at the same time, we are strong believers, and although today may be a day of mourning, God will provide, and tomorrow will be a day of joy.”
READ: Leader of Church Destroyed in Fire Forgives Arsonists: ‘Today May Be a Day of Mourning, Tomorrow Will Be a Day of Joy’ AND Video Shows Woman Lighting Orthodox Church On Fire Days Before It Burned To The Ground
Jesus said that the true sign of a believer was not loving those who love you, but loving and forgiving those who hate you:
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. (Luke 6:27-32)