“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
The church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, a horrendous, hateful crime, personified evil in action. And yet those godly people spoke to the alleged killer during a bond hearing, saying, “I forgive you.”
The incident spoke volumes. Tucked into the happening were multiple messages demonstrating the Christian worldview and God’s good news to the world.
How could grieving people stand up and say they’d forgiven the person who committed the crime? Not in their own emotions or ability, but solely through the power of God. Their brothers, mothers, grandfathers, sisters, friends had been stripped away from them in one wicked moment. They will never see their loved ones on this earth again, but each lived out their Christian faith and obeyed what the Bible says. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13. Not only did they forgive, but they put into action the rest of the passage. “And over all these virtues put on love.” Love prevailed that day in the courtroom and in Charleston.
I also grasped another message. Only four days after the shooting, Rev. Norvel Goff stood in the pulpit of Emanuel African American Episcopal Church and said the shooter had failed miserably in attempting to break their spirit of love and unity. He said they hadn’t responded with riots but with love.
I can’t help but wonder. Did the angry protestors in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland hear the message from Charleston? Were some ashamed of the riots that took place in their city and the massive destruction? I can’t help but believe God used the terrible crime in South Carolina for good, perhaps changing hearts. Not only that, but He profoundly demonstrated His message to people everywhere.