This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
– Matthew 26:28 (NIV)
The plan was simple and evil.
When a racist opened fire on members of a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, he hoped to ignite a race war. Playing off the heightened race tensions since recent shootings in places like Ferguson, Missouri, he had a simple, evil plan.
Find some black people and kill them.
His first target was the College of Charleston. But the security was too tight, so he chose a place that would be easy because everyone was welcome there.
He walked into a church.
He didn’t foresee one crucial thing. This was not a town ready to buy into his war. This church took their Savior seriously, shedding their own blood in His name, forgiving the one who had brutalized them. At the killer’s arraignment, family members still reeling from the loss looked into the face of hate and forgave him, turning a senseless act into a holy sacrifice.
The area has largely followed suit, determined to reject the race war and use the tragedy to close ranks and reaffirm their love for each other. This love, which seeks the highest good of others, is embodied in our every act toward those around us.
Forgiveness is the purest expression of Christ’s love.
The depth of Christ’s love to the unworthy, the power of His blood to cleanse the most horrific sins, the beauty rising from the ashes of shattered lives –none of this has been more evident than in the determination of one church to follow Christ, wherever the road leads.
What color is forgiveness?
Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
– Ephesians 4:32