'I was having a Jonah moment. Several years ago I realized I didn't want to forgive the people who planned and executed the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. I didn't want God to forgive them, either.
This surprised me. In the past, I've been able to forgive most people relatively easily. And it didn't make much sense to me: Like most Americans, the events of 9/11 shook me, but I wasn't personally affected as none of my loved ones were physically hurt. I didn't even realize I was still angry about 9/11 until I came across the website Adopt-a-Terrorist for Prayer (ATFP).
'I'd read about ATFP in an article and had intended to find a terrorist to "adopt." The site's spokesman, Dr. Thomas Bruce, says the war on terrorism is primarily spiritual. "If terrorists start converting, then terrorism as a weapon will fail, and the whole world will know something spectacular about the one true God," he says on the site. Praying for terrorists' salvation sounded like a great idea to me.
But when I visited the site and began reading the killers' profiles, I became angry. Why should I pray for these evil people? I thought. They have no remorse. If given the opportunity, they'd kill every American.
One of my pastors once observed that we want God's forgiveness for ourselves, but we want his justice for our enemies. That was true for me as I prayed, "God, please let these terrorists be located and found guilty for their crimes. Punish them for the lives they took. Please help heal the families who've suffered loss by bringing justice. Amen."