How can we respond?
The killer in Charleston, and others who have done abhorrent, hateful things, have characteristics and intentions in common.
I touched on this in my sermon this past Sunday (see the video for June 21, below, in the previous post). Many other pastors and leaders are responding to the killings in Charleston. Among them, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. Upon reading his thoughtful response, I believe it is something worth sharing and passing on. So - here it is:
How do we respond to such evil? The answer is that we must do the exact opposite of what the gunman wanted to accomplish. That way he doesn’t win.
The gunman’s intention was to divide people,
so we must unite in our grief.
His intention was to show hatred,
so we must show love.
His intention was to kill,
so we must protect life – all of it. Every life matters.
His intention was to do evil,
so we must respond by doing good
His intention was to start a race war.
We must be peacemakers.
His intention was to further segregation,
so we must model integration in our churches,
His intention was to do an injustice,
so we must stand for justice.
And his intention was to do harm,
so we must be agents of healing.
When we do the opposite of what the gunman wanted to see happen, evil ultimately loses and goodness wins. Even many of the family members of those murdered have modeled this response, offering forgiveness to the man who took the lives of their loved one, even while feeling gut-wrenching grief and anger. Romans 12:21 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Today, hatred is strong in our culture. But love is even stronger, and it is the only thing than can overpower evil.