An Uncommon Instinct

This Easter, we encounter incredible stories of forgiveness in the face of unimaginable suffering.

Early in 2020, Australians everywhere were shaken by the awful news of the tragic death of four children – three siblings and one cousin – in Western Sydney, mown down by an alleged drunk driver while on their way to buy ice cream one summer evening. 

But what struck everyone was the response of the parents of three of the children, Daniel and Leila Abdallah. Though devastated, Leila said that she wanted to forgive the driver. She refused to hate him. “That’s not who we are,” she said.

That instinct to forgive is not quick or easy for most of us.

In this episode of Life & Faith, we hear from Kylie Beach, a journalist from Christian newspaper Eternity, who reported on a prayer vigil for the Abdallah children. While there, she met Daniel and Leila, and was struck with their ability to comfort others, even in the midst of their heartbreak.

We also meet Anba Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London. He shares the terrible story of the 21 men – 20 of them Egyptian Coptic Christians – kidnapped and then beheaded by ISIL on a Libyan beach in 2015.

The two stories of tragedy could hardly be more different. But they share – along with the Easter story – an impulse to forgiveness in the midst of terrible suffering. 


Kylie Beach’s article in Eternity

Martin Mosebach’s book The 21: A journey into the land of Coptic martyrs