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In the March, 1994 edition of Time magazine, Edward Barnes wrote an article entitled “A Sniper’s Tale.” It is about a Sarajevo man named Pipo whom Barnes quotes as saying: “Everyone likes peace except me, I like the war.” He was a Bosnian Serb sniper who has shot down 325 individuals for the sake of revenge. Before he was a sniper, Pipo had a restaurant in Sarajevo with his partner who was a Muslim. They were friends, as well as partners, until Pipo’s mother was put in jail and tortured by Muslims. Barnes quotes Pipo as saying, “When she got out, she wouldn’t talk about it. That’s when I picked up a gun and began shooting Muslims. I hate them all.” Taking revenge has changed Pipo. He says, “All I know how to do is kill. I am not sure I am normal anymore. I can talk to people, but if someone pushes me, I will kill them. . . . In the beginning I was able to put my fear aside, and it was good. Then with the killings I was able to put my emotions aside, and it was good. But now they are gone.” After shooting over three hundred people, Pipo has no more fear, no remorse, no feelings at all. He said matter-of-factly: “I have no feelings for what I do. I went to see my mother in Belgrade, and she hugged me, and I felt nothing. I have no life anymore. I go from day to day, but nothing means anything. I don’t want a wife and children. I don’t want to think.”

The problem is that Pipo became exactly like the people he hated so much. This is what happens. When we hate someone they are constantly before our face. Our focus is on them, so we become like them. But when we forgive, refuse to plan how we are going to get even and focus on Christ, we become like him. The Bible says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

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