How can we show the love and forgiveness of God?
Anita Smith shows the world.
Her husband, Ronnie Smith at age 33 was shot and killed two weeks ago in Benghazi while jogging in the morning near the American Consulate where the American diplomatic mission was attacked on September 11, 2012.
Ronnie had been there providing a ministry of teaching to Libyan students at the International School for the last 18 months.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Messiah 2Corinthians 10:1
Thanks to my sister in The Lord, Misha for sharing this unbelievable story today of Ronnie's incredible wife Anita who wants this message to go out to the attackers Benghazi:
"I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this".CNN reports:
"I pray with all my heart that the attackers, that maybe this incident would call them to know the love and the forgiveness that's found in Jesus, I really do."
To the attackers, she wrote: "I love you and I forgive you."From the Austin Stone church here in Austin...
To the Libyan people, she said, "We came to bless you, but you have blessed us much more. Thank you."
Benghazi was the cradle of Libya's 2011 revolution that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime but since then, the new government is struggling to control armed groups in the country.
Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi also is where militants attacked a U.S. diplomatic mission in September 2012, killing four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The United States blames the Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia for the attack.
"I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie's death, but that's not what Ronnie would want," Smith wrote of her husband. "I want all of you -- all of the people of Libya -- to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie's blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God."
For right now, we ask you to:Is it any wonder that Ronnie Smith edited "The History of Redemption"? Is it any wonder he taught its message?
Pray for Anita, Hosea, and the rest of Anita and Ronnie’s family
Grieve for the loss of our brother with the hope of Christ
Trust that God’s will is perfect and His purposes are good
The Austin Stone will be assisting Ronnie's wife, Anita, financially. If you would like to make a gift in memory of Ronnie Smith, please follow this link.
Proceeds from the sale of The History of Redemption, an illustrated collection of scriptures edited by Ronnie Smith, will support the Smith family. You can purchase a copy of the book here.
And you will know why when you read the glorious open letter 'To the Libyan people' his wife Anita Smith has written:
My husband and best friend Ronnie Smith loved the Libyan people. For more than a year, Ronnie served as a chemistry teacher in a school in Benghazi, and he would gladly have given more years to Libya if unknown gunmen had not cut his life short on December 5, 2013.With her incredible message of love to Benghazi and the World, Anita is living out the teaching and instruction, the Torah that was expounded by Messiah Yeshua.
Ronnie and I came to Libya because we saw the suffering of the Libyan people, but we also saw your hope, and we wanted to partner with you to build a better future. Libya was very different from what we had experienced before, but we were excited to learn about Libyan culture. Ronnie grew to love you and your way of life, as did I. Ronnie really was "Libya’s best friend".
Friends and family from home were concerned about our safety, as were some of you. We talked about this more times than I can count. But we stayed because we believed the Libyan people were worth the risk. Even knowing what I know now, I have no doubt that we would both make the same decision all over again.
Ronnie loved you all so much, especially his students. He loved to joke with you, tell stories about you, help you with your lives and challenge you to be all that you could be. He did his best to live out his faith humbly and respectfully within a community of people with a different faith.
To his attackers: I love you and I forgive you.
How could I not? For Jesus taught us to “Love our enemies” -- not to kill them or seek revenge. Jesus sacrificed His life out of love for the very people who killed him, as well as for us today. His death and resurrection opened the door for us to walk on the straight path to God in peace and forgiveness. Because of what Jesus did, Ronnie is with Jesus in paradise now. Jesus did not come only to take us to paradise when we die, but also to bring peace and healing on this earth. Ronnie loved you because God loves you. Ronnie loved you because God loved him - not because Ronnie was so great, but because God is so great.
To the Libyan people: I always expected that God would give us a heart to love you, but I never expected you to love us so much. We came to bless you, but you have blessed us much more. Thank you. Thank you for your support and love for Ronnie and our son Hosea and me. Since Ronnie’s death my love for you has increased in ways that I never imagined. I feel closer to you now than ever before.
I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie’s death, but that's not what Ronnie would want. Ronnie would want his death to be an opportunity for us to show one another love and forgiveness, because that’s what God has shown us.
I want all of you - all of the people of Libya - to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie's blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God.
You have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate your enemy.The Austin Stone will be assisting Ronnie's wife, Anita, financially. If you would like to make a gift in memory of Ronnie Smith, please click here.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 2Corinthians 10:17What does this all mean?
It means that it is now time to repent and return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment.
God is a sovereign God. He is a loving God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua.