I wrote an article in December on a Christian response to ISIS and had said that I believe undoubtedly, the response should be one formed in love. Wonder what that looks like? On the 17th of June 2015, Dylan Roof joined a Charleston Church's evening Bible Study, spent an hour with the parishioners, then turned his gun on them and open fired. He killed 9 people, including the pastor, a college graduate and librarian. It was an act of racial hatred and what is now being labeled as racial terrorism. This news of yet another shooting tragedy took the United States by storm, with no shortage of international news coverage, reaching as far as South Africa and India. Shootings have become so commonplace in the US, that President Obama released a statement in which he said "I refuse to act as if this is the new normal". Fresh in the minds of Americans are the recent shootings of young black men by police officers, and the subsequent chaos that ensued. I am sure there must have been a lot of people sitting on the edge of their seats, expecting another wave of backlash (remember Furguson). Another ping pong match of hate speech between racial groups. But what happened next was probably even more shocking than the shooting itself.
"I forgive you": Victims' families confront suspected Charleston church shooter Posted by NowThis on Friday, 19 June 2015
In tears, a family member of one of the victims addresses Dylan, saying "I forgive you. You took something very precious from me, I will never talk to her, ever again, I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you". Another family member says, "you know, I forgive you, my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most...Christ" Since the shooting the church has reopened, with the NY Times reporting a "defiant show of unity in Charleston Church that lost 9 to racist violence" Watch CNN's coverage here.