On and on the pundits go, on the left and on the right, as to how something about that act of forgiveness the family members of the shooting in Charleston extended to the killer isn’t right!
It’s not a matter of some “order” to forgive. It’s not a matter of the killer accepting it. It is about the power to forgive. And no conservative or liberal outside the grace of Jesus Christ really seems to get it. (At least not anyone with a computer and blog to post.)
This article gives a great explanation for the power of forgiveness and is worth the time to read.
A couple of key thoughts from the author:
I do not think I could forgive Roof. Forgiveness is not a burden I would place on anyone in the situation of those families. We should reject all calls from those who wish to sweep under the rug the culture and systems of racism that infect people like Roof. We should reject all calls to make excuses for the evil Roof actively embraced and acted upon. He was no passive actor. He was more than simply a result of cultural, economic, or social circumstances. He had agency. And his actions were evil.
But we should also reject all calls to strip the agency and dignity from the mourning families as well. I am not mature enough in the faith to so quickly pass the burden of judgment to God. But I am inspired by those family members to grow in that direction. I am a Christian because of the black church and black faith. When I was far from God, it was the unashamedly Christian black culture, movies, and music of people like Lauryn Hill and Fred Hammond that introduced me to Jesus. It is the black church that so consistently embodies the confounding, radical love of Jesus. What other American community today displays less shame, less reservation, less self-awareness about proclaiming the Christian faith? I will not turn the Bride of the living Christ into a cultural artifact.
We have so much to learn, and these precious families can teach us. But they are doing it without shouting, without the normal trappings of “protest,” without a lot of things we are used to these days. Are we listening?