Dr. Tim Irwin




The Price of Forgiveness

Cara Gaskins - Monday, June 22, 2015

Over the weekend, I wept as I watched members of the AME Church in Charleston speak to Dylann Roof, the alleged killer of their family members and beloved fellow parishioners.  With raw pain in the faces and voices of these dear people, I was transfixed when person after person said, “You deeply hurt me and my family, but I forgive you.”

How could these individuals who will never again hold their loved ones be able to forgive? In this blog I often write about derailed leaders who made terrible and usually self-serving decisions which lead down a path of personal destruction. In contrast, how noble were these individuals who rose selflessly above this unspeakable cruelty. Is this not one of those finest hours which transform all who will listen?

Our words and actions emanate from the beliefs in our core. While these acts of forgiveness defy our natural instincts, these families and church members somehow chose to forgive. While their pain was unfathomable, I feel that nested in each person’s core were certain deeply held convictions which guided their words and actions.

While no one can know with certainty another’s motives, I can only guess that those who had suffered such a great loss believed that this is not the end of the story. They believe that despite Roof’s appalling evil, God is loving, just, and sovereign over the affairs of men. They also believe that forgiveness is ultimately the only cure for the pain each feels. These convictions were grounded in the spiritual formation, which occurred in the very Bible study where Roof attacked.

None of the commentaries I watched or the articles I read pointed out this one additional fact. Forgiveness is not free. Someone has to pay for it. Forgiving Roof comes at a great price. I will pray that these good people from Charleston, who I respect beyond measure, will bear up well under the huge price they have paid.

How did the posture of forgiveness of the members of AME Church in Charleston impact you? Please comment below:

© Copyright 2015. Dr. Tim Irwin and Irwin Inc, LLC. All rights reserved.

Phil Turner commented on 24-Jun-2015 05:47 PM
Tim, your comments are appropriate and profound. The action of forgiveness may be the most effective remedy in the face of evil and hatred. I would submit that the absence of street violence and angry crowds in Charleston after the murders can be directly connected to the church members who demonstrated such dramatic forgiveness. These individuals are remarkable in that they painfully and thoroughly lived out their Christian faith in words and actions. I'm praying that many Americans are taking notice of this and are reevaluating their need to embrace forgiveness and express it toward others no matter how small or large the infraction they have suffered. I appreciate your comments!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jul-2015 02:34 PM
Great text!

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