A Time For Forgiveness: Thoughts On Charleston, SC Shooting

Matthew 5:43-48  You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Photo by Stephen E Norton; APDear Readers,  Three days ago, a man walked into a church full of Christians (who happened to be colored), sat there as the Word of God was preached for some time and then opened fire, killing nine Christian brothers and sisters and wounding several others.  As I am writing this, I am still stunned.  I am emotional.  I weep not for my fallen brothers and sisters in Christ.  I need not shed tears for them; for they are at home in peace and love with the Lord.  Hallelujah!  I weep for their families.  I weep for their friends.  I weep for everyone who has lost someone to senseless violence.  I also weep for my nation, my beautiful America.  I wonder, why she is so cruel at times?  Yet, even while I am in the midst of such madness and confusion, I still see hope.  I still see God’s light shining through the darkness.  Praise His name!  Thank you, Jesus!  When I picked up the paper today, I wept again.  But, this time they were tears of joy.  Yes, they were.  For as I read the latest news, I saw God’s glory shining through the darkness. Randall Daluz - Corrie Ten Boom - Quote1 The story was about the shooter (who happens to be white in complexion).  It spoke of his arraignment in court.  The families of the victims were allowed to speak to him via video feed.  Now, one would think that they would show hate and discontent toward the man who slayed their loved ones.  You would think that because that is what people who are of this world do.  But, these beautiful people are not of this world.  No, sir!  These are God’s people.  These are good Christians who love Jesus.  Hallelujah!  They have the love of Christ in their hearts.  Thus, they did not spew hate and anger – not one drop of it.  Instead, they showed him love and forgiveness.  They begged God to have mercy on him.  Praise Jesus!  They are living testaments to Christ.

Having been a victim and witness of such awful violence myself, I have been blessed with profound insight on this subject.  I know how hard it can be to find forgiveness in your heart.  It took me a long time to forgive the perpetrator in my situation.  It was only after I got saved that my heart changed.  When I studied God’s Word, He taught me that sin is sin in His eyes.  He taught me to love my enemies.  He showed me how to separate the sin from the man.  I learned to detest a person’s sins and not the person.  I have learned that God loves everybody regardless of their sin.  He taught me to love my neighbor even when he trespasses against me. Randall Daluz - Corrie Ten Boom - Quote2 He taught me that I had to forgive in order to be forgiven.  Amen!  He taught me that when we hate others, we hurt ourselves.  He taught me that love heals.  He showed me the beauty of peace.  These are things that God teaches all Christians.

I commend those families.  I thank them for their courage and poise.  I am so proud of my brothers and sisters in Christ for the love they have shown in the face of great adversity.  Bravo!  God did not make that man do what he did.  He would never do that!  God allows all of us to make our own choices.  He has a purpose for everything.  There is a great lesson to learn here, folks.  We need to love each other no matter what – pure, unconditional love.  We can only do that if we follow Christ.  Amen!

Dear Lord, I pray for the victims and families of all sin everywhere.  Lord, I pray that everyone’s hearts will be opened up and that your love will flow through us all.  I pray we all learn to love one another.  In your name, Jesus.  Amen!

I Corinthians 13:3-13  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.  And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

It would be nice to hear from all of you out there.  I would like your feedback.  Please write to me and I will answer every letter.  You may also remain anonymous.

May God Bless and keep you!  May His love fill us all!  May we learn to pardon every offense!
Love in Christ,