Our nation heard the news and reacted with heartbreak and horror after a twenty-one-year-old massacred nine people on June 17, 2015, in a Charleston, South Carolina church. A young man sat for an hour with this amazing group of Christians (who welcomed him into their fold as they prayed) and then he shot them dead.
Sitting on my mom’s couch two days later, watching the latest news on this story, I heard these words:
*“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
Would I be able to react this way towards the murderer had my mother been gunned down?
Hearing Nadine’s heroic words wrenched my heart with anguish and admiration. As did the words of the other family members of those killed with similar sentiments and words of forgiveness. These people became my faith heroes.
No one should suffer this kind of horror. No one. But it happens – not usually on the level of murder in a church, yet loss and grief are part of life on this earth aren’t they?
Stepping into Nadine’s shoes, could we forgive the murderer of our loved one two days after the crime occurred? Two weeks? Two years? Where will our faith be in moments of trauma and pain? Continue Reading