Christian America Series, 1
Nine black people were murdered the evening of June 17 this year in their church in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the murdered was the senior pastor. The victims:
Cynthia Hurd, 54
Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lance, 70
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41
Tywanza Sanders, 26
Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74
Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45
Myra Thompson, 59
The shooter, a young white male who later confessed he was motivated to start a race war, was a young man with a history of mental health issues and drug abuse. He claimed he was a Neo-Nazi, a white supremacist.
The Christians assembled at the church that Wednesday evening gathered for prayer and Bible study. They had lovingly shared their faith with the shooter for an hour before he pulled a pistol, shooting them point blank. They died reaching out to him with the love of Christ.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, many across the country expressed either rage, or complete disbelief that someone could harbor such murderous intent, acting with such horrific cruelty. Many concluded that racism was no doubt involved. Others perceived the spiritual warfare dimension, knowing that the devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy, according to the Scripture.
Ultimately, the killer was completely defeated. There was no race war, no riot sparked, no burning or looting, no compounding violence. Instead, people of all races gathered outside the church to sing and pray and stand in support of the members worshiping and grieving inside. Numerous rallies and gatherings followed in various places, all peaceful, all focused on eternal reality.
The members of that church personified Christ. They called for calm, peace and prayer. They extended grace to the shooter’s family, and even spoke the words of forgiveness to him. Family members of those killed went on camera, witnessing the love of Christ, mourning their loved ones, and extending grace and mercy and forgiveness, even when none was requested by the killer.
It was other worldly. It was sacred. And it was wonderful. The testimony of believers in Charleston amazed the entire world, serving as a marvelous example of the love of God operating in the hearts of the truly faithful.
We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. They showed us the Way of the Cross, the Way of Peace, and the Way of Reconciliation, putting Neo-Nazis, various ‘reverends’ and violence-promoting ‘activists’ to shame, unintentionally.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.