Nine innocent people lost their lives. Nine people welcomed a “newcomer” to a church prayer group only to be massacred in cold blood for their kindness and hope to lead someone to Christ. Massacred because of their race. The level of hate and premeditation on this young man’s part is nothing short of chilling and disturbing.
This week, I did a lot of self-reflecting and readjusting of my attitude. If I lost my keys in a rush, broke a glass or stubbed my toe or some other miniscule setback and found myself complaining or having a sour outlook, I put myself back in check pretty quickly. Nine people just were shot down in cold blood, and I’m going on about where the heck are my keys? Why is this happening to me pity party? No. I put I stop to that real quick. Tonight someone is grieving the loss of a mom, dad, son, daughter, wife or grandchild.
I was in the midst of writing a post about my latest fitness goals and summer plans. I will still post it but not today. Nadine Collier’s address to the gunman who killed her mother compelled me to write this post. As Nadine addressed murderer Dylann Roof, instead of spewing out the same hate that killed her loved one, she told him she forgave him in the midst of her grief. She said she forgave this deranged gunman for taking the life of someone who held such a special place in her heart. Family member after family member of the victims spoke of forgiveness. Dylann Roof wanted to segregate black and white, but instead he brought people of all races closer in Charleston, as they hugged and cried in unity in vigils across the state of South Carolina.
Forgiveness is difficult for many, me for sure. I tend to brew at times on how someone wronged me. The bible says to forgive. I pray to God to strengthen me and lead me to forgiveness daily in this hindrance in my Christian walk. Letting hate or bitterness linger in your heart and soul is self-destructive and God does not want these things to keep us back. I have never lost a loved one at the hands of another, so I can only imagine how much strength it took Ms. Collier and the others to address Dylann Roof. Every week, I ask God how I can be a better person. What will be my lesson to learn? This week, these victim impact statements have certainly been my lesson.
I just want everyone to know I forgive you. You hurt me, you hurt a lot of people, but I forgive you.