Jesus constantly reminds us of forgiveness in Scripture, this message of salvation goes all the way back to the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel we are reminded how "the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him".
In the light of the recent attack perpetrated in Manchester Arena, at an event attended mostly by youths, forgiveness is surely the last thought that would cross our mind - 22 people have been brutally killed by a suicide kamikaze with a bomb filled with nails and other metallic parts, among them several victims were children or minors, how can we respond to this? How will the relatives of these little, innocent infants react to such an unnecessary bloodshed? How will the psychologically damaged spared ones react? How will they live with this burden? Why can't our youths enjoy a moment of laid back joy in these short lives we have? What has brought us to this? Forgiveness is indeed the last thought that would cross our mind.
Certainly, those of us who happen to be Christian, or religious or somehow not involved in this horror, will be comforted by the thought of eternal life, Christ said "let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." This can certainly comfort us, these are the words of our Saviour who despite he surely did not intend for children to come to him in this brutal way, has also a special place for them in the incredible power and continual love of his heavenly kingdom. But how will those directly involved in these deaths respond? I might have an idea: first we, as human communities, should respond by embracing these people with little acts of love, by showing them, we are there. It is in these moments humans truly show their greatest gifts, my mind goes to the taxi drivers of Manchester and Liverpool who rescued (freely) the many survivors of the attack, we could be taxi drivers and rescue those affected by evil, an evil which sadly seems to be happening over and over again. Now, how could these people, those who are directly involved in this tragedy, personally respond to it? I have one more idea, it should be forgiveness which always comes from God. How can you say that now?! Let me explain. I would not advise to begin a difficult mental process in which one would actually stop blaming the attacker for his crime, no, I suggest to simply forget about him, that's the forgiveness for him and for one's own benefit. God will think about his soul (and I can't but believe in hell as of now), now the grieving person's only goal is to begin a process of healing, without thinking about the perpetrator, that will indirectly be forgiveness for that awful person and for one's own heart.
As we are not drawn to hatred as those who hated and killed did, let us find room for prayer, for the sick, for the grieving and suffering and let us think of all the little angels who joined God in his immense power above, the little angels we used to look after and who will now be our guardians. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.