The senseless killing of nine people in Charleston has left a community shell-shocked and the nation grieving. It may be the clearest public demonstration of evil that we have experienced in months, if not years. Thankfully, justice looks promising, as the shooter was apprehended and now faces trial. He'll likely face the death penalty.
But amid all the mourning and sorrow brought by these killings, another impulse quietly emerged yesterday — one that pointed toward reconciliation and hope. It was a truly Christian extension of mercy to Dylann from an African-American, and it will likely leave you speechless.
Marcus Stanley, an award-winning gospel singer from Virginia, was shot eight times in a previous gang-related incident — yet he miraculously survived. After the Charleston shooting on Wednesday, he found Dylann Roof's Facebook page and decided to leave him a comment. It was truly profound. Here's an excerpt:
"I don't look at you with eyes of hatred, or judge you by your appearance of 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 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 who 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."
You can read the whole statement here.
As we wait and long for justice in the aftermath of this horrific event — and as many question whether evil can truly be countered in this world — let's take hope from Marcus Stanley's example. He has shown that light overcomes darkness, and that hate cannot stand in the face of love.