After Dylann Roof shot and killed nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, one could expect their family members to respond with anger and hatred towards him. The New Yorker reported that in fact, the response was much different. “After the massacre, the family members of the slain men and women, in the throes of unimaginable grief, offered radical forgiveness to Roof. ‘You took something very precious away from me,’ one relative said, addressing Roof during a court hearing. ‘But I forgive you.’”
The family members of the “Charleston Nine” demonstrated such a radical forgiveness towards the killer of their loved ones that it still resonates, a year after the shooting. Such forgiveness is only possible by knowing that we’ve been forgiven by God and received abundant grace through him by Christ’s death and resurrection.