Those of us who were reared in Charleston continue to be heart-broken with the horrific details of the nine murders Wednesday evening. Hearing the words, “the city of Charleston” mentioned over and over again is surreal. This unspeakble act of terror does not fit the personality of Charleston; nothing makes sense. Charleston is a beautiful, eclectic city with a skyline of church steeples.
The gunman was from another city and chose the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to kill nine innocent people. They were in Bible study and he sat with this group for one hour before killing them. Dylann Roof chose this peaceful setting to send his racist message.
What did this accomplish? Through this tragedy, the message of Christ is clear. As I type this twenty-four hours after the shooting, I have heard repeated references to faith, prayer, and the teachings of Christ. I think of the scripture: “You thought evil against me: but God turned it into good, that he might exalt me, as at present you see, and might save many people.” Genesis 50:20
This horrible event will be sliced and diced for many months to come. But we have the opportunity to share the love of Christ in our hearts for one another; to show our love regardless of skin color. We need to pray for one another, forgive and lift up the families who have lost loved ones. As strange as it may sound, only twenty four hours after this horrible event, we should pray for Dylann Roof and others like him. We have an opportunity to show how big our God is.
Another issue that needs addressing is mental illness in this country. In my opinion, hate is a mental illness. Prolonged un-forgiveness will turn to hate and poison hearts. Hate is evil.
The news media needs to remember that their reporting can also put ideas in the heads of unstable individuals.
Pray for these families, pray for the city of Charleston and pray for your own thoughts, words and deeds.