Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Ol’ Robbo was going to stay completely off the topic of this week’s brutal mass-murder down in Charleston because the story line seemed so inevitable: psycho-monster slaughters innocents; vultures swoop in on still the warm corpses to push their various politickal agendas (race, guns, self-aggrandizement, etc.); street thugs take advantage of the situation to go wild; civilisation crumbles just a bit further.
I’ve seen this movie before.
However, what I didn’t expect was the complete awesomeness of teh victims’ families:
Relatives of the nine people shot down during a Bible study session inside their historic black church confronted the 21-year-old suspect Friday during his initial hearing. They described their pain and anger, but also spoke of love.
“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson, whose relative Myra Thompson was killed. “We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. … Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.”
My friends, this is Christianity in action. First, the obvious nod to the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Second, though, note the plea that the killer repent. Repentance isn’t just an empty “Yeah, man, I’m sorry.” It also requires suitable penance. In this case, indeed, it may very well require submission to the full weight and penalty of the Law, i.e., a trip to teh Chair or whatever it is they use down in South Carolina these days. But if Stormdoor (or whatever his name is) actually does this sincerely, the relatives recognize that his soul can still be saved. These people are thinking the long game, not just our brief appearance here on Earth.
That, as I say, is a true understanding of Christian salvation. And I tell you truly that I’m not sure, given the same set of circumstances, that I could myself measure up to these brave folks.
God bless ’em.