Yesterday, as accused mass murderer Dylann Roof stood isolated behind television cameras, the victims of his psychotic spree, through their tears, forgave the depraved monster who took the lives of their loved ones.
Let no one ever say again that in Christianity there is anything but goodness and decency, mercy, kindness, compassion and true love.
We hear these stories all the time, and at the same time we hear people, like the President, trying to say that, well, really, islam and Christianity are essentially just the same thing.
Tell me, when was the last time you heard of any muslims offering forgiveness for the acts of another?
In South Carolina yesterday, beautiful people showed the real beauty at the heart of Christianity: the pure, forgiving, redeeming heart of Jesus, whose love for all us very much fallen sinners is unconditional and complete.
A murderer took the lives of nine beautiful people, and the heartbroken families of those beautiful people took that awful act and produced poignant sweetness from it.
We hear stories all the time of people who look into the yawning abyss of what seems to be insurmountable grief and despair, then step back from bitterness to embrace life with a deepened understanding of the preciousness of life, and with a real, deep joy. There is only one way to do that, and that is using the example of the unconditional love of Christ, which gives us all the sure faith that we we’ll see our loved ones again in Heaven.
We can’t bring them back, but they are in a better place, and we will see them again, along with all the rest of our mothers and fathers, our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, our friends and loved ones, who have gone before us.
Only Christians know and understand the bigger picture, what I call the “ten-thousand year picture,” the understanding that no matter our thrashings here on earth, in ten thousand years, we’ll all be gone and, yes, it does matter how we live our lives, and end our days, but with the redemption of Jesus, we know how we’ll live eternally: in joy and love, and with the peace that passeth all understanding.
Only Christians can take what seems like overwhelming ugliness, and with that deeper understanding of life, produce from it splendor, grace, love … simple, deep, transcendent beauty.
Christians looked at the face of a monster and defeated it. One is left to understand that, no matter the legal fate of Dylann Roof, no one could impose a harsher penalty on him than will the inevitable understanding of the depravity of his act, contrasted with the beauty of the families’ forgiveness offered without condition to him.