Love conquers all

There is nothing so powerful as the love of God.

The young white man charged with killing nine black Christians in a Charleston, South Carolina church a couple of days ago reportedly said he wanted to start a race war. Several grieving family members of the dead people wielded a greater weapon – forgiveness.

I was deeply affected by one woman who spoke of her broken heart and yet said to the young man: “I forgive you.”

That was a demonstration of godly love that struck home with me. I am sure that millions more were touched by what she said.

It is significant that the young man reportedly told police after he was arrested that the people in the congregation treated him very nicely for the hour he sat with them in a church Bible study. They were kind to him because they were taught to show the love of Christ to others.

Like me, I am sure many believers are asking themselves how they would have reacted in a similar situation. As I sit in my peaceful home, I am not sure that forgiveness would jumped to my lips.

Yet those who forgave the killer were doing what Jesus told us to do. Indeed, it is what Jesus himself did when he was nailed to the cross.

But forgiveness always has a lasting impact – on earth and in heaven.

The apostle Paul was one of Stephen’s persecutors who stood and watched the young Christian die under a hail of stones. He heard Stephen cry out to God: “Lord, don’t charge them with their sin!”

There is no doubt in my mind that Paul himself described the scene later to Luke, the writer who recorded those words in the Book of Acts. The description mentions Paul standing there watching Stephen die. Not long after he became a believer miraculously on the road to Damascus and went on to face stonings himself. And, like Jesus and Stephen, he called on his fellow believers to forgive.

Some years ago, I read a story of a young Russian girl beaten to death by a Soviet policeman after she was caught worshiping with Christians in a forest. He became a believer himself because he was cut to the heart by the way she died, dedicated to Jesus and without rancour towards her tormentors.

God’ love conquers all.


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