Today I feel like I sold my soul to the devil for 30 pieces of silver. This morning, I wrote a simple piece for my part-time writing job at BPR, which shook me to the core.
— Steve Berman (@lifeofgrace224) June 20, 2015
The headline was “‘Hate won’t win’: Social media shaken to the core as Charleston families forgive killer.” Those words “hate won’t win” have echoed in my mind since I finished the post, fighting tears the whole time.
Seeing the families of the slain church members forgive Dylann Storm Roof for his evil act, to his face, is the most powerful witness of Christ in the world—a poignant echo of Jesus’ words on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34a.)
Even as a Christian, most of the time we don’t know what we’re doing. We use our tongue and quill to spew invective, share our opinion, and defend our positions, but rarely take the time to see how our words affect others when they slam into a target at the speed of sound or light.
As a blogger, I use words as tools, but words are really arrows shot into the brains of readers.
Those arrows can be sharp, they can be blunt, or they can be poison-tipped. They can be on target, or they can totally miss and hit unintended people. They can expose truth, dispel lies, promote good thinking, or cut off bad arguments. Or sometimes they can just hurt.
On Thursday, I was researching the Charleston shootings, and found some facts about Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s voting record as a South Carolina state senator which troubled me. I was angry and frustrated that these kinds of mass killings can happen in a country where so many hold their right to self-defense sacred. So I wrote about it.
The post went fairly viral (for me), and is currently somewhere north of 25 thousand shares on Facebook (which translates to 120 shares on Google+). The post brought a lot of comments, and a fair share of attacks. I expect attacks. Bloggers have to develop a thick skin, and quickly, or the trolls will feast on your mind and emotions.
I took on the most valid criticism: that I was blaming the victims of the shooting for being killed, and I answered that criticism, while defending my original position.
Then I wrote “Hate won’t win.”
Today I feel like I sold my soul to the devil for 30 pieces of silver.
It’s not that I was wrong in what I wrote Thursday, or Friday. There’s room in America for reasoned and rational debate on the subject of gun laws.
But I was wrong to write what I did. I should have done this instead.
The strength of Christian resolve to forgive is being tested. Pray before you tweet and hopefully we’ll get it right #CharlestonShooting
— Tim Habecker (@TimHabecker) June 18, 2015
I was wrong because they weren’t words of forgiveness, or healing, or uplifting, or unity, or virtue, or righteousness.
They were words of divisiveness, argument, policy, and anger. Those words are never called for in a time of grieving, when emotions are raw, and people simply need comfort, not argument.
What I saw when sorting through hundreds of tweets from all over the world was the spirit of Christ meeting the spirit of this world, and overcoming it. And it shamed me to have been following the wrong spirit.
God is sovereign. He is endlessly forgiving. And Christ’s authority over the earth and all that is in it cannot be overthrown.
I now pray for the families of the slain in Charleston. I pray for Rev. Pinckney’s family especially, because I am sure my words were hurtful to them, if they read them or even if they didn’t. A poison arrow is still poison whether it hits a target or not. I pray for Dylann Roof, the same prayer that the families offered, that he would repent and give his life to Christ.
— Sol Phenduka (@solphenduka) June 20, 2015
I thank God for the opportunity He gave me to see things differently, and with my own words, to shake myself to the core through His wisdom and everlasting mercy.
— #COS (@TheoGats) June 20, 2015
— ♥♥♥DarkQueen♥♥♥ (@KennalMalebza) June 20, 2015
I don’t forgive him. #CharlestonShooting
— Anika Noni Rose (@AnikaNoniRose) June 20, 2015
So tough listening to the #CharlestonShooting victims’ families say “We forgive you, hate won’t win” only a day after the murders.
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) June 20, 2015
In quivering voices, victim families of #charlestonshooting say they forgive the murderer. This is faith. This is love. This is America.
— Fr. Jonathan Morris (@fatherjonathan) June 19, 2015
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@rajiniv) June 19, 2015
Hate won’t win. (#hatewontwin)