In June 2015, Dylann Roof, a 21-year old white supremacist from North Carolina, drove to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and committed one of the most shocking mass murders in American history.
After entering the church, Roof asked to see the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor, and then joined a Bible study with members of the congregation. They welcomed him. But Roof pulled out a pistol and started shooting.
He killed nine of our Christian brothers and sisters in cold blood, leaving another alive to tell everyone what had happened.
He was hunted down and captured, and eventually was convicted of numerous state and federal charges. Roof currently awaits death by lethal injection.
What many found as shocking as the killings themselves was the reaction to Roof by many of the victims’ families.
At this year’s Wilberforce Weekend, Christian film maker Brian Ivie told us how he had heard about the Emanuel AME shooting while on his honeymoon in Mexico. One morning, while he was out on the balcony, Brian heard his wife, Amanda, sobbing inside. “Nine people just got shot in their Bible study,” she said, “in Charleston, South Carolina.” And then she went on to describe the massacre.
Brian was stunned. “Then she looked at me again,” he relates, and said, “You don’t understand. They’re forgiving him. The family members are forgiving the murderer in court.”
On her laptop, Amanda had watched, stunned like so many of us, Nadine Collier, the daughter of Ethel Lance, tell Roof: “I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people, but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”
Then Anthony Thompson, husband of Myra Thompson, told Roof, “I forgive you, and my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Change your ways.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and David Carlson