The African-Americans who extended amazing grace to a white killer in South Carolina in June are noble examples of Jesus’ teaching to love your enemies. Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly opened fire during a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing nine African-Americans. On one of his Internet sites Roof was pictured with a Confederate battle flag.
Relatives and friends of the slain responded with magnanimous Christian character. Instead of asking for the death penalty, they asked to meet Roof to tell him they forgive him. They also invited him to turn his life over to Jesus and receive salvation. This is pacifism at its best.
In the wake of the killing, the governor of South Carolina asked that the Confederate flag no longer fly on the Statehouse grounds. The South Carolina General Assembly had it removed and placed in a museum.
During the 1960s, black people sometimes had to walk a gantlet of shouting, Confederate flag-waving hatemongers to integrate schools. Their courage warrants our admiration. Today the freedom they won is too often taken for granted.
Our colorful God created all races of his children to be loved, respected and treated equally. For Mennonites, it is interesting to note that since the founding of the fairly recent missions in Kenya, about 8 percent of all Beachy Amish Mennonites are African. Our hats are off to all Christians who follow the redemptive way of the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ.
James D. Hershberger
Stuarts Draft, Va.
Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.