The all-American terrorist left a witness.* They described how nine souls, who in the midst of prayer and praise were slaughtered by one whom they had welcomed in the name of Christ to prayer and Bible study. Yet, the martyrs’ families – who could have reasonably returned hate for hate — chose the more excellent way: love.
They chose to forgive the one who snatched the folks they loved from them, but not from their God. The families and friends’ forgiveness overcame the cacophonous social critics who blamed guns, racism, and mental illness for a manifestation of evil that surely fed on each of these factors. Their words made our President marvel, and put the Name of Jesus and His commandments on the lips of Sunday talk show hosts.
In obedient hope, they offered a self-confessed murderer what each who follow Christ possess – peace with God through the redemption His Son bought. Their offer went viral, so to speak, and its wonder is still the topic of conversation days afterwards. It confirms yet another promise: You are my witnesses to Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and the whole world. (Acts 1:8)
They gave our confused, grieving nation a flesh and blood example in what it means to follow Christ. Their humble reliance on God has opened a door to a conversation about the national wounds slavery and its aftermath inflicted upon us all.
- What will the nation do with this opportunity?
- What will the church do?
- What will I do?
I wonder how much better my witness would be if I got over my “issues” and forgave those who wronged me – even those who can’t or won’t?
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. . . Psalm 46 **
Links to article and Sermon