Here was my first response to the Charleston church murders:
What kind of society produces continual, motiveless mass shootings? And now a man who would murder 9 people who were praying in church? Something is dreadfully wrong with our culture!
–Lord, have mercy on us! Help us repent for being entertained and brainwashed by violence and for our disregard for You and Your moral law. And God, please comfort the family and friends of my dear Christian brothers and sisters who were ruthlessly murdered while praying to You!
Later I read Marcus Stanley’s response. Marcus is a Virginia based singer who in 2004 was shot 8 times, at point-blank range, while performing. He miraculously survived, but while attempting to deal the pain and hurt, Marcus got addicted to pain medication and heroin. In 2010 Marcus went into a faith-based rehab and through the power of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ he was set free from his addiction and forgave the person who shot him. Today he is a Gospel singer who travels world-wide sharing his story of how he found Christ and how he forgave the person who shot him and almost took his life.
When Marcus heard about the shootings he went to the shooter’s Facebook page and posted these words:
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 that are not like you and that is truly tragic. You have accomplished nothing from this killing, but planting seeds of pain that will remain forever in the hearts of the families that lost their lives and countless hearts around the country. If you are still out there and 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 you have done. I love you Dylann… even in the midst of the darkness and pain you have caused, but more importantly, He loves you. If you would like to make that confession, then repeat these words . . . (Marcus ends his comment to the shooter with prayer asking the living, resurrected Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.)
Marcus explained his comment with these words:
A lot of people are going to be mad at me for doing this. But we react too quickly with hatred instead of getting to the root of the problem. So I was reaching out to him not in hatred but in love.