I don’t have a long blog to write today, in fact most of what I’m sharing is not from me, it’s from a gospel singer named Marcus Stanley who is one of the most courageous and amazing followers of Jesus you will ever know.
You see, when Dylann Roof began shooting African-American parishioners attending a Bible Study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC Mr. Stanley was there. In fact he was shot eight times with a .45 caliber handgun and lived!
While as Christians we talk about loving our enemies and forgiving those who trespass against us, it’s a much more difficult thing to do when you’re the victim. Human nature says we should want revenge and justice. I want to share what Mr. Stanley wrote on his shooter’s Facebook page after the massacre and while Roof was still at large:
I don’t know you, but when I searched for your name from the news outlets it led me here. You’re not captured yet, so there is a chance that you may see this message. I don’t look at you with the eyes 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 9 living & breathing people. Children do not grow up with hatred in their hearts. In this world we are born color blind. Somewhere along the line, you were taught to hate people who are not like you, and that is truly tragic. You have accomplished nothing from this killing, but planting seeds of pain that will forever remain in the hearts of the families that lost their lives and countless hearts around our country. If you’re still out there and you have your phone with you… Give your heart to Jesus and confess your sins with a heart of forgiveness. He is the only one that can save your soul and forgive you for the terrible act that you have done. I love you Dylann… even in the midst of the darkness and pain you’ve caused, but more importantly HE loves you.
If you would like to make that confession, then repeat these words.
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
God bless you Dylann
Friends, can you believe this? If you ever wondered what Jesus would do re-read the note above. Mr. Stanley – riddled with bullet holes – reaches out to his shooter in love, forgiveness, and offers him salvation through our Lord Jesus! This is what our faith is supposed to be about!
Perhaps you’ve seen this post already and if you follow the news you’ve seen the amazing grace and forgiveness the EAM church has afforded Roof, including the survivors of those murdered. You may wonder how in the world can they show such love under the circumstances? The answer is simple: Jesus. Only through His power can we overcome ourselves and our fallen nature to truly love and to love when it’s hard or even impossible by human standards.
I don’t usually ask this, but if you read this post please share it with EVERYONE you know. People need to see Jesus as He really is not the crazy way He is portrayed by far too many professing Christians. Mr. Stanley and the EAM church embody the love of Christ that EVERYONE needs to know.
May we all have the power of the Holy Spirit to be as full of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love and our brothers and sisters in Charleston.