In 2009, Fred Winters, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, was shot & killed during a Sunday morning service by a disturbed young man.
The tragedy shocked the church & the pastor’s family, but it did not destroy their faith. The next week the newly-widowed Cindy Winters was interviewed on a national news broadcast.
When asked about her husband’s killer, she said, “I do not have any hatred or even hard feelings toward him. We have been praying for him. One of the first things that my daughter said to me after this happened was, ‘You know, I hope that he comes to learn to love Jesus through all of this.’ We are not angry at all, & we really firmly believe that he can find hope & forgiveness & peace through this, by coming to know Jesus. And we hope that that happens for him.”
Source: cbsnews.com, March 16, 2009 (ministry127.com)
Jesus said: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your friends, and hate your enemies.' But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven….. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you?.... " (Mat 5:43–46).