Like many of you, my heart has been so heavy these last few days following the massacre of 9 African American men and women in the house of worship. It is yet another horrific scar on the face of America. But this cut runs even deeper because it occurred in God’s house… a sacred place for refuge.
Yet despite the attempts of the gunman to triumph over all that is good, we continue to hear the following questions: How can the families of these victims offer forgiveness so easily? How can they pray for God’s mercy on the gunman’s soul? How can the people of South Carolina unite and sing God’s praises amidst this horrible tragedy? These questions baffled even the most astute reporters who covered the televised memorial.
The answer is that God remains at the center of it all.
As I reflect on recent events there is a bible verse that comes to mind that reads as follows:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~Genesis 50:20
You see, in the midst of a media storm that is divisive, unethical, and brazen with idolatry. Despite attempts to strip “honest” religion and all that is good and holy from the spans of the earth, in order for media outlets to capture “the story,” they are forced to show images of ALL races of people united, praising God’s name and acting upon His word. Above the weighted sentiments of frustration and anger that resonate amongst many affected by this tragedy are the voices of a victim sharing “we welcomed you, ” and the Killer acknowledging that “[he] almost didn’t do it because everyone was so nice to [him],” and the echoed sentiment of forgiveness amongst grieving relatives and friends.
God remains at the center of it all…
It’s not easy to serve Christ when all things of this world contradict His instruction. But what an awesome example we now have of modern day followers of Christ who lived and died for Him sharing his love and light with an unbeliever. What an awesome example of God’s instruction to forgive and have mercy on your brethren as demonstrated by the family of the victims. And finally, we stand as witnesses to the examples of His love and comfort in the face of tragedy as evidenced by the gathering of believers to pray and sing God’s praises.
In the Baptist Church where I attended as a youth, the Deacons would sing the Hymn “Come to Jesus” at the close of every sermon. It’s an invitation to accept Jesus Christ, the son of God into your heart as your Lord and Savior. Even now I can hear their deep, rich voices bellowing out the invitation. God doesn’t discriminate. He takes you as you are, just like the 9 worshipers who accepted Roof into their bible study; A white, racist, bigot and murderer. In the words of the Pastor “won’t you come, there is room for many in my Father’s house.”
To my fellow believers I implore you to continue to walk in faith and light and believe that despite what happens here on earth, God’s work IS being done. To unbelievers, this tragedy and all others before it and after are signs of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah… and there will be an end.
I urge you to “choose this day whom ye will serve.”
How has the shooting in South Carolina affected your belief system?
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