Would you forgive the man who shoots your mother dead in church while she attends bible study? Even if it’s not a relative involved, could you forgive the white man that killed 9 black people at Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, SC earlier this year?
Time Magazine explores the question of forgiveness in the wake of that tragedy in an unprecedented 27 page article entitled ‘Murder, Race and Mercy – Stories from Charleston,’ in their November 23, 2015 edition.
You never would imagine how complex the meaning of forgiveness is. Time explores forgiveness from the point of view of the victim, the criminal, the survivors, the living, the dead, the whites and blacks, and from various religions. That lesson alone makes the article worthy of reading. But, with 27 pages to work with, Time goes in much deeper with details of the ordeal that could only be shared by those close to the situation and could only be delivered for consumption in print by professional journalists.
The reason forgiveness even became a part of this tragedy occurred at the bond hearing for the killer when the judge made the unusual offer to allow survivors to offer comments. The first lady to speak mentioned forgiveness and it was like a shot heard around the world which sparked confusion, animosity, support, and misunderstandings.
In addition to learning about forgiveness, Time gives each of the 9 victims their own space as at least one close friend or family member tell of their lives leading up to that dreadful moment. Very little is mentioned about the killer Dylann Roof, but enough to know he’s there. The detailed reenactment of the shooting is left for the very end of the article which includes information not seen or heard before.
As a bonus, the article talks about the rich history of Charleston from the slave days to present, and includes the historical significance of Mother Emanuel church and its direct connection to Mother Bethel church in Philadelphia.
While reading the article, I could picture a Spike Lee documentary or a T.D. Jakes faith based movie being made from this script.
When I began to read the article, I didn’t look ahead and thought it would be the typical 3 to 5 page cover story they do in their normal issues. I was so immersed in the article that almost a half hour went by before I got curious how much more I had to go. I was only halfway through.
Run, don’t walk, to your nearest newsstand and purchased this magazine. It’s a story you should share with each other, your church groups, in schools, and especially with young adults and teens.
I’ve never read a magazine article so compelling.