Forgiveness Is a Marathon

Vermon Pierre | August 12, 2015

It’s the kind of video you watch with silent awe. There on your screen is Dylann Roof, clad in an orange jumpsuit, his stare cold and flat. As you watch, you soon hear the voices of the family members of the people he murdered at the Emanuel AME Church prayer meeting. They’re in a courtroom, speaking to him via closed-circuit video. The murders have happened only a few days earlier. Memorial services are still being planned. Pain and loss are clearly present as you hear the emotion in the voices of these family members.

But the words they speak to Dylann Roof are words of mercy and grace. Instead of anger and hate, they offer him forgiveness.

Many were amazed by what they witnessed from these family members. And it is amazing. But it most certainly was not easy. I fear that in our era of short video clips and changing Facebook and Twitter feeds we’re prone to quickly highlight a video like this yet fail to fully understand or appreciate all it represents.

We need to slow down long enough to consider what it takes to offer this type of forgiveness, and what it takes to continue in this spirit of forgiveness. Indeed, many of us have moved on…

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