Saturday, June 20, 2015

We Are Different, because of Forgiveness

I grimly watched the bond hearing for the man who murdered nine people in Charleston, South Carolina. 

I, like many Americans, am in shock that someone could enter into a church, pray with people for over an hour and then kill nine members of the congregation in cold blood. 

But at the bond hearing yesterday, which was televised, I heard something that reminded me why Christ-following Americans, are different from much of the world. Despite losing loved ones in a violent and tragic way, many of the relatives who addressed the murderer forgave him and asked God to be merciful with him. One quote from the session as reported in the Washington Post article titled, From victims’ families, forgiveness for accused Charleston gunman Dylann Roof is below:

At Roof’s bond hearing, Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old shooting victim Ethel Lance, was among those who addressed him. “I forgive you,” Collier said, her voice breaking. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

I was also amazed at the opening words of the judge who urged people to remember that there were victims and hunting people on both sides of this crime, those who lost loved ones as well as the family of the murderer.

We are different because we retain the concepts of mercy and forgiveness. 

I was appalled at the reaction of the Fox Newscaster Gretchen Carlson who seemingly could not comprehend the compassion that the relatives of the victims showed towards the killer. It almost seemed that she wanted them to utter forth the wrath of God upon his soul--but they did not. Even in the middle of their most personal pain and grief they forgave him.

And that is what makes us different from much of the rest of the world.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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