I Peter 2:23-25 states, "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed." For "you were like sheep going astray," but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
An elderly nun in western Pennsylvania has emulated the humility Jesus displayed while experiencing persecution, choosing to forgive the 19 year old man who brutally raped her.
Although the victim didn't appear in a Beaver County courtroom when Andrew Bullock, of Aliquippa, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 ½-37 years in prison, she sent another sister to read a statement on her behalf.
"My profound and permanent prayer for you, Andrew, is that you wholeheartedly take advantage of the educational, uplifting, socially positive opportunities that may be available during your prison time," wrote the sister, adding that she forgives him.
The AP reports that the nun was 85 when Bullock approached her at a recycling bin on Dec. 13. After offering to help her load some newspapers, he exposed himself, punched the nun in the jaw and knocked her face-down while raping and screaming at her.
Although the nun's actions seem counterintuitive, columnist Perry Noble explains how Christians are able to truly forgive--no matter how grievous the sin.
"Forgiveness is MUCH DEEPER than a feeling (if we wait until we feel like forgiving we will never actually forgive) but rather a choice I have to make over and over again," he writes in a blog post titled "How Do You Really Forgive Someone Who Hurt You."
"As Christians, we have said that Jesus is our example.He forgave the people who were crucifying Him when they weren't even asking for it. He modeled forgiveness for us...and because He forgave we can forgive."
Father Peter Suocony, a priest who has worked with prison inmates for several decades, says he hopes the nun's actions will encourage the young man to repent of his sins.
"The nun's incredible act of forgiveness despite the horrific acts committed against her by the young man is an example of Christ's compassionate attitude towards humanity," he said.
"My prayer is that her actions will convict her rapist of his sins and perhaps turn him to Christ. And for that, there is no greater reward."