Why the victims of Charleston shooting can say, “I forgive you” to Dylann Roof?



Nine members of Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina were gunned down by a disturbed young man named Dylann Roof.  It was reported that the motive was due to racism.

The members seen above welcomed Dylan Roof with arms opened wide to join their midweek bible study.  It was 1 hour after doing so that he opened fired on the church members that lovingly accepted him into their group.

According to sources, Dylan Roof was plotting to start a race war. He wanted whites to be with whites and blacks with blacks.   One survivor of the tragedy says they pleaded with him to stop shooting but responded, “No, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country … I have to do what I have to do.

Dylan Roof is without a shadow of a doubt a murderer and deserves the full weight of the law. Truthfully he deserves to go to hell for what he did and for all the pain he caused.

Instead the family of the victims are offering him forgiveness and an invitation to eternal life.  They believe what Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This is so much like Jesus and his example he set for His followers. It is Supernatural Love. Grace. Mercy.

01 Jan 2013, Charleston, South Carolina, USA --- Senior Pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, speaks to those gathered during the Watch Night service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina December 31, 2012. New Year's Day 2013 was the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which declared free all slaves in the rebellious states of the Civil War.The Watch Night tradition at black churches goes back to Freedom's Eve, on New Year's Eve 1862 when slaves, free blacks and abolitionists gathered in churches and homes to wait for the Emancipation Proclamation to take effect on January 1, 1863. REUTERS/Randall Hill (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION POLITICS) --- Image by © RANDALL HILL/Reuters/Corbis

You can tell that they have experienced the forgiveness of God in their lives.  Luke 6:45 tells us that “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Eph. 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”

Jesus taught His followers to be forgivers

The central teaching of Christianity is about forgiveness and reconciliation to God through Christ by His death (Romans 5:8-112 Corinthians 5:17-21; Colossians 1:13-14;20)

  • Jesus taught to love & pray for your enemies (Matthew 5:44)
  • Jesus taught to forgive because you have been forgiven (Mark 11:25)
  • Jesus taught to forgive without limitation (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • Jesus taught by example to forgive those who do evil toward you (Luke 23:34)
  • Jesus taught to forgive others or God would not forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15)

Jesus demonstrated forgiveness with His life, death, and Resurrection 

Jesus forgave those who were crucifying Him and all the people who plotted His death. While on the cross he spoke the most radical words recorded in history “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”And they cast lots to divide his garments”.

If anyone ever deserved revenge it would have been the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was innocent and did not deserve to die the death he did. Revenge was a possibility for Jesus for He could have called legions of angels to rescue him from being arrested and prevented being crucified(Matthew 26:53).

Instead He chose not to for He had a greater cause in mind–to offer salvation to undeserving, guilty sinners. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Through His death, burial, resurrection, He offers forgiveness to all who repent of their sins and turn to Him (Romans 10:9;I cor 15). Including men like Dylan Roof.

Jesus died for his enemies.  He even prayed for them.  And He offers them full forgiveness if they repent.

The Survivors of  Emmanuel church have chosen to be like Christ

emmanual prayers 

”I forgive you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, give your life to the one who matters most: Christ. So that he can change it, can change your ways no matter what happened to you and you’ll be OK. Do that and you’ll be better off than what you are right now.” Anthony Thompson, husband of slain Myra Thompsom

The members of Emmanuel church are no doubt experiencing anger, disparity and shock but they have chosen the higher ground by applying what Jesus taught them to do.  They have chosen to forgive the evil doer.

They have chosen to be like Christ. They were sinned against greatly by having their loved ones murdered by 21-year-old who was influenced by hate.  When confronting him in court, they offered forgiveness immediately and an invitation to experience salvation.

They have chosen God’s will.  It is supernatural love to forgive someone when they don’t deserve it. They know God will deal with this and the law will bear the sword in due time (Romans 13:1-4).

They have chosen the honorable way.  They have chosen to overcome evil with good and to no let this event divide and separate, but to unite them together in Love. This will make them stronger in their faith and stronger in their love for one another.

Jesus said we can know such people.  John 13:34-35 “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”

Dylan Roof sought to destroy and divide communities.  Instead He caused Christ to shine bright and loud through these survived members.  They will overcome this event and God will be glorified through this tragedy.

rudy guiliani

 Pray for the survived families

  • Rev. Clementra Pinckney
  • Tywanza Sanders
  • Cynthia Hurd
  • Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
  • Myra Thompson
  • Ethel Lance
  • Rev. Daniel Simmons
  • Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
  • Susie Jackson
  • Dylan Roof n his family


Unity Chain in support of Charleston Shooting 

Blog Post by Lecrae

Blog Post by Mark Jones

Learning to Forgive

Health Benefits of forgiveness


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