Christianity,  News

Families of Charleston victims forgive the killer and call him to repent

This is one of the most gut-wrenching and beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Through tears and raw emotion, the families of Charleston victims forgive the man who murdered their loved ones, and they call him to repent. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must have been for them to offer these gracious words. Even more unimaginable is how they will maintain this grace in the long days ahead. The Lord will sustain His people.

This testimony needs to be seen far and wide.

Matthew 5:44-45, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

1 John 4:18-19, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.”

Matthew 12:50, “Whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”


  • Christiane Smith

    sad times, DENNY . . . but these victims still stand strong witness to the grace of God

    ” I called on Your name, O LORD,
    Out of the lowest pit. You have heard my voice,
    “Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief, From my cry for help.”
    You drew near when I called on You ;
    You said, “DO NOT FEAR !” ”

    (from Lamentations 3:55-57)

  • dr. james willingham

    It is remarkable that the lady who reported the culprit’s location to the police in Kings Mountain, NC which led to his capture in Shelby had been to prayer meeting the night before and that she had been praying for the folks of the church in Charleston as, very likely, many others have been doing. Many must have been praying for the man’s capture. The grief that this young man caused is enough to make virtually anyone who felt a sense sympathy to weep. Having studied Black History (as it was then called( in undergraduate and graduate school, I have always been amazed by how African Americans can be such practitioners of the Christian Faith. I have known of a number whose forgiveness of offenders has been solemnly remarkable for its reflection of Christlikeness..

  • Chris Ryan

    Unlike the photographer, baker, and candlestick maker this is a true Religious Liberty issue with 9 people dead for having opened their church doors to a stranger. These people were in Bible Study, and this evil man sits and ‘prays’ with them an hour before killing them. This is evil incarnate. And it illustrates how far America has yet to go in getting past our own ‘original sin’. That makes it a Social Justice issue too. This should put a stop to those who slander civil rights activists like Revs Jackson & Sharpton by calling them “poverty pimps” and “race hustlers”…The ability of the victim’s families to forgive Roof is remarkable; there is something unique about the black experience in this country that opens ppl up to be this forgiving. I wish we could bottle it and give it away πŸ™‚

    Many years ago when I was just a kid we were having a New Year’s Eve watch service. It was just before midnight & everyone was on their knees praying. My father was in the pulpit and he looked up and saw a drunk man wander in the church carrying a shotgun. He walked up to the man and persuaded him to leave. Except for telling my mother and I the next morning my father never mentioned it to the broader church. Point being, the Devil is constantly doing evil and you never know when this might happen again. The Devil is attacking the Church itself and its definitely a time to be prayerful.

    • Ian Shaw

      The guy shot them because he was a racist. You really think that this is a religious liberty issue? He killed them because he didn’t like black people. The fact that he committed the act where he did isn’t really why he did it.

      • Christiane Smith

        IAN, he could have done it elsewhere, but he CHOSE this particular Church and he purposefully sat with the very people he would slaughter . . . listening to their readings and comments and prayers before he ended their earthly lives . . .

        can you really dis-engage the killing and the killer from the setting and the nature of any house of worship??? Not this time, I don’t think you can.

        Mother Emmanuel will become a shrine for all Christian people and Charleston is being called a ‘Holy City’ because of the deaths of these individuals who were FIRST human persons saved by Christ . . . IAN, their ‘race’ was ‘human’ like yours and like mine and like the perpetrator’s . . . we are connected to one another by that which binds our species . . . skin color is not ‘race’, it is a genetic adaptation over time for a people which sheilds them from the dangerous rays of the sun by adding ‘melanin’ to their skin . . . a natural protection from harmful rays . . .

        call it what you like . . . but I see the victims as Christian martyrs and I see the perpetrator and someone who struck out against those he knew would not hurt him back . . . not even in the courtroom would they curse him . . . the proof? their forgiveness in the midst of unbearable pain . . . they are Christians, IAN and they live now in the Kingdom of Our Lord in that place He has prepared for us beyond this Earth

      • Chris Ryan

        Hey, Ian. When ISIS kills Christians what do you call it?

        When people can’t open their church to strangers for fear of being killed, or have to erect security perimeters and magnetometers as Emanuel did on Sunday, its undoubtedly a Religious Liberty issue. Part of the reason my father didn’t tell the congregation about the would be gunman is b/cs he didn’t want to alarm them & in alarming them cause them to close themselves off to the community. Open doors are crucial to spreading the gospel. Being able to worship in peace is the foundation of Religious Liberty.

        There can be more than one issue at stake. Targeting a church makes it a Religious Liberty issue, targeting blacks makes it a Social Justice issue, and killing 9 people as part of a vile political strategy makes it a terrorism issue. You see this also with ISIS. The people they kill don’t just differ in religion, they also differ by ethnicity. Unfortunately its not uncommon for hateful people to hate more than 1 thing. Some white supremacist churches think blacks are cursed, and so maybe Roof targeted a black church because he thinks they’re defiling the faith. Given that there were so many other venues in which to target black ppl he didn’t choose the church by accident.

        • Ian Shaw

          You may call is a religious liberty issue or a social justice issue, but our government in their grand intelligence is already labeling it as a gun issue, which has nothing to do with either of the potential issues it could be.

          • Chris Ryan

            It might help to differentiate “issue” from “policy”. Guns are used by killers for a variety of motives (revenge, covetousness, hate, lust, etc). So a policy of gun control might address a variety of issues. I’m pretty moderate on gun control. I support an individual right to own guns but I also (like the majority of other gun owners) believe in common sense regulation. Reportedly Roof’s father gave him a gun for his 21st birthday 2 months ago. I’m perplexed that since Roof was out on bail at the time that he was even able to legally purchase (or be given) a gun. Common sense regulation should prevent that.

  • James Stanton

    What testimony in difficult times. That takes a special courage. Many choose to harden their hearts but these people have shown the proper path.

    Denny’s twitter feed had a link to Russell Moore’s piece in the Washington Post calling for taking down the Confederate flag. Definitely worth reading.

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