When a hate-filled young white man walked into a church attended by Christians of color, they welcomed him. He sat with them for over an hour, heard them talk about their Savior, listened to their prayers, then pulled out a gun and killed nine of them, just because of the color of their skin. He may have wanted to start a civil war. What he got, instead, was something he never imagined.
At his bond hearing, several loved ones of his victims spoke to him. If you get a chance to hear their statements I hope you take the time to do so. Through their fresh and devastating grief, they forgave the killer. They asked him to repent, to turn to Christ. They refused to allow hatred into their souls.
In this day and age of Ferguson and Baltimore, these people have demonstrated what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ. They set aside their “right” to seek revenge, and held on to the One who is the final judge of us all.
If you don’t understand how these people can forgive, or if you don’t believe they really have forgiven this murderer, you don’t know their Savior. I invite you to read the book of John in the Bible and get to know Jesus, who forgave his own murderers.
What Satan intended for evil, God will use to bring about good. You see, the people who died that day closed their eyes in prayer, and opened them face to face with Jesus Himself. Do not grieve for the lost lives. Rather pray for those who are left to live with the void their deaths bring, until the day they are reunited. And they will be reunited because of their faith in Jesus.
Dear Comforter, I pray that you will wrap your arms around those who mourn in Charleston today. I pray for that church. May the members stand together and strong in their obedience to you. I pray for the shooter, that he will humble himself and accept what Jesus died to give him – forgiveness. And I pray for everyone who reads this blog or hears the testimony of the grieving loved ones. May hearts turn to you by the thousands. Maybe this will spark the revival we so need in this country. May we not be overcome by the evil played out here, but overcome the evil that led this man to commit this crime, with good, with love, with faith, and following the example of the people in Charleston, with forgiveness.