A Christian leader in Sri Lanka whose church was bombed has offered forgiveness to the attackers, saying he wants to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Roshan Mahesen leads the evangelical Zion Church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka where some 100 people were killed or injured on Easter Sunday.
Pastor Roshan said the congregation was hurt and angry, but offered forgiveness because, “we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Lord Jesus Christ
Speaking to a member of the Evangelical Alliance council, Pastor Roshan said the congregation was still reeling from the attack.
“We are hurt. We are angry also, but still, as the senior pastor of Zion Church Batticaloa, the whole congregation and every family affected, we say to the suicide bomber, and also to the group that sent the suicide bomber, that we love you and we forgive you, no matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
He added that they wanted to follow in the example of Jesus who said during his crucifixion: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Pastor Roshan also expressed his deep thanks to all those around the world who had sent messages after the attack.
“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, every word you speak brings such comfort and strength.
“We will stand and continue what the Lord has purposed in our life and we are ready, and we will continue to fulfil the mission the Lord has given us.”
He said 28 people had died from his congregation, and around 70 were in hospital.
According to the BBC, the death toll would have been higher if a churchgoer had not intervened.
Ramesh Raju became suspicious of a man outside the church who claimed he had come to film the worshippers.
Raju, who was killed in the blast, ushered the man away before he detonated his explosives outside the church.
In total, more than 250 people died in the attacks across the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Around 500 are injured.
According to Operation World, 1.2 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population are evangelical Christians.