Pastor Anthony Thompson Who Lost His Wife in Emanuel AME Church Shooting Shares How God Told Him to Tell Gunman to Accept Christ

Dylann Roof is escorted into the courtroom at the Charleston County Judicial Center to enter his guilty plea on murder charges in state court for the 2015 shooting massacre at a historic black church, in Charleston, South Carolina. (REUTERS/Grace Beahm/Pool)

Pastor Anthony Thompson faced the most unthinkable circumstance on June 17, 2015, when he learned that his wife, Myra, was one of the nine African-American victims gunned down by a white shooter during a Bible study at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It was an event that horrified the nation and the world, and one that left Thompson—a preacher at another South Carolina church—and other victims emotionally broken. But rather than choose hate or anger, Thompson opted for something else entirely: forgiveness.

The pastor’s stunning public act or forgiveness for the gunman absolutely stunned America. Listen to Thompson, author of the new book, Called to Forgive, on a recent episode of “The Pure Flix Podcast” reveal why he chose to forgive the unrepentant killer:

People might remember the stunning moment Thompson and other victims stepped forward and forgave the shooter, boldly proclaiming the gospel to his face at a bond hearing—a court appearance that unfolded within days of the horrific massacre.

“To be truthful with you, it was kind of instantaneously,” Thompson said of his choice to forgive. “I didn’t want to go to the bond hearing. After being coached to go, I went, and I told my children not to say anything, because I wanted to get there [and] leave as fast as I could.”

But as Thompson was preparing to leave the courtroom, he felt prompted by God to stand up and speak.

“I was getting ready to leave, and God said, ‘Get up. I have something to say,’ and I had no idea what it was he wanted me to say,” Thompson said. “As I walked to the podium, the words just came to my mouth.”

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SOURCE: Charisma News, Billy Hallowell