In the days following September 11, 2001, Ray Norman and his family felt the tension as they served in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. As Americans, they were potential targets of violence. That danger became a reality when a gunman attacked Ray and his young daughter Hannah as they traveled to the beach. The gun jammed, but Ray and Hannah were both injured.

After the man was caught and imprisoned, God moved their hearts to visit their assailant and forgive him. The room was filled with armed guards and they sat opposite from the man, Ali, who had tried to kill them. Ray’s daughter stood first.

“Mr. Ali,” she said, “I want to first of all ask you why you tried to kill my daddy.”

In front of the guards and the crowd, she told him that she forgave him. Under Sharia law, no one can forgive an assailant except the victim. Hannah’s words moved the man deeply.

Then Ray’s wife stood. “Mr. Ali, because of the harm that you inflicted on my husband and my daughter, surely you must be a man who has experienced a lot of pain yourself.”

She then went on to tell him that the gun’s jamming was God’s protection of him as well as of Ray and Hannah.

“God cares about my husband. But you are just as important as Him. You have just as much value. Your life is of just as much worth and value to Him. And you are loved just as profoundly by God as my husband is.”

The entire prison guard and other prisoners were listening to her words.

But Ray’s wife wasn’t finished. She reached into her purse and pulled out a Bible. In Mauritania, it was illegal to bring Christian literature into the country and to pass it around to others. Ray’s wife marched across the room in blatant violation of the rules and stood next to the man who had shot her husband and daughter. She opened the Bible and began to read from it, from Isaiah, to Romans, to the gospel of John. And Ali listened intently.

When she was finished, she offered the Bible to Ali who quickly took it. Turning to the head of the prison, she asked if Ali could keep her Bible. To everyone’s surprise, he stiffened and answered,

“Yes ma’am, he can.”

Ray tells the rest of the story in his book, .

Key Scriptures: Psalm 57:9-10; Matthew 5:10; Matthew 5:43-45

Featured Songs: The Hand That Is Holding Me by Meredith Andrews; Hiding Place by Selah; Wonderful by Christy Nockels

Highlight : A radical act of forgiveness

Dangerous love