On Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Charleston, NC, at Emanuel AME Church, nine people were shot to death during a prayer meeting. The shooter is a deranged young man who allegedly committed this unthinkable crime because of his hate for blacks. A female survivor told family members that the gunman Dylann Roof initially sat down in the church for a while before opening fire; she also stated he was letting her live so she could tell others what happened.
Among the dead was the pastor of Emanuel AME Church who was also State Senator Democrat Clementa Pinckney. Pinckney, age 41, was married with two children and had served in the state Senate since 2000, according to online biographies.
I know many of you have questions, such as; Why did this happen? How did it happen in the church our place of safety? Why did God allow this to happen? What can we do to prevent this from happening again? And how could the devil sit in church for an hour and not be detected?
Being a reporters I found it very difficult to write this story because of my love for God’s people and the church. Our newspaper is love driven and we write from a biblical perspective, because of my emotional state I found it hard to focus. I sent an email out asking; How does one highlight the love of God in this situation? Someone please enlighten me?.
Minutes later I found my answer to the prayer, thanks to Mr. Marcus Stanley. There was a post, posted on Roof’s facebook page that gave me hope. This post was on forgiveness to Roof before facebook shut down his page, here are a couple of quotes; (1) “I don’t look at you with eye’s of hatred, or judge you by your appearance or race, but I look at you as a human being that made a horrible decision to take the lives of nine living and breathing people.” Marcus went on to say (2) “I love you Dylann….even in the midst of the darkness and pain you’ve caused, but more importantly HE loves you.”
Stanley had a message without prejudice but of love and hope for Roof. My faith and hope has been renewed and my focus is clear for I looked to the hills from which comes my help and all of my help comes from the Lord. People of God let me encourage you, in spite of all of the questions you may have and what you do not understand, no this one thing God is in control and this is not a time to run from the church but run to the church for the help, the help that is much needed and relied on.
Read Marcus Stanley forgiveness note to Dylann Roof. Mouse over the post and right click you will see the legible document. Follow Marcus Stanley at: facebook.com/marcusstanley