Charleston Victims' Relatives Forgive Suspected Gunman - Hope 103.2

Charleston Victims’ Relatives Forgive Suspected Gunman

Grieving relatives of those killed in last week's horrific massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, have expressed forgiveness to the suspected gunman.

By Clare BruceMonday 22 Jun 2015NewsReading Time: 2 minutes

Grieving relatives of those killed in last week’s horrific massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, have expressed forgiveness to the suspected gunman.

In a powerful video that has come out of a court hearing in Charleston,  21-year-old Dylann Roof is seen on a video monitor under close security, as he listens with a blank face to the statements of forgiveness mixed with grief.

A woman who identified herself as the daughter of shooting victim Ethel Lance, is heard saying, “I forgive you.”

“You took something very precious away from me and I will never talk to her ever again. I will never hold her again. But I forgive you. I have mercy on your soul. You’ve hurt me, you’ve hurt a lot of people. But God forgive(s) you and I forgive you.”

Anthony Thompson, the grandson of victim Myra Thompson, added his voice to the same sentiment, and urged Roof to accept the grace of God.

“I forgive you and my family forgive you,” he said, but we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, Confess, give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so that he can change it, can change your ways no matter what happened to you…and you’ll be ok… you’ll be better off than what you are right now.”

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The pain was obvious in the voice of Felecia Sanders as she said “We welcomed you on Wednesday night in our bible study with open arms.”

“You have killed some of the most beautiful people that I know. Every fibre in my body hurts and I’ll never be the same. Tywanza Sanders was my son and Tywanza was my hero. As we [said] in the Bible study, we enjoyed you. But may God have mercy on you.”

Loving Their Enemies

Their statements were powerful examples of the Christian mandate to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.”

The sister of 49-year-old victim Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, said she was struggling to forgive but knew that love was necessary.

“I’m a work in progress and I acknowledge that I’m very angry,” she said. “But we are the family that love built. We have no room for hate.”