Two gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked a crowded Catholic church service in Quetta, Pakistan on Sunday. Eight people have been killed, and another forty-five victims were left injured. However, the body count in this tragedy could have been much worse -- police guarding the entrance to the church shot and killed one of the terrorists, but the other managed to successfully detonate his vest. More than four hundred potential victims were attending advent services inside the church.
These people were targeted for a terrorist attack because of their religious beliefs. They were chosen simply because they dared to worship a different God than the bombers. The attackers were almost certainly radical Islamic terrorists -- you don't typically see the Lutherans or Methodists gleefully murdering their competition.
While it might be tempting for some Christians to hate the bombers responsible for this evil act of cowardice, it isn't Christ-like. During the Christmas holiday season that celebrates the birth of Jesus, hating the haters would be failing to follow the example of our crucified Jewish Messiah.
Ironically, if Christians allow ourselves to be consumed by blind hatred of our enemy, we become the same as them. Instead, we must remind ourselves of those most remarkable words that Jesus spoke from the cross, as the very people who had killed him were dividing his belongings as he watched:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.