David Goldman/AP

What an outstanding example of love and forgiveness we have seen in Charleston following the deaths of nine black church members, when a deranged 21-year-old white male killed nine of them at a weekly Bible Study.

Jesus Christ said:  “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35).   Love is what sets us apart.

In Matthew 5:44 He told them: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”   This was a truly revolutionary verse, especially at a time when the Romans ruled over them.

When the Apostle Peter asked how often we should forgive those who sin against us, note Christ’s response:

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)  In other words, there is no limit to forgiveness.

All people professing to follow Jesus Christ will recognize these passages of scripture, but how many people actually put them into practice? Love and forgiveness are often sadly lacking in Christians and Christian churches.

Members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, must be commended for the way they handled this tragedy in their midst.   Their attitude of love and forgiveness deserves to be noted and remembered in the years to come.


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