How Could the Families of Those Killed in South Carolina Forgive Dylann Roof?

COPYRIGHT WARNING

The recent news of nine people killed in South Carolina, and the immediate forgiveness of Dylan Roof, by the families of those who lost their loved one’s, is extraordinary, indeed.

Some people have asked how a person could be that good that they could forgive the horrendeous acts of someone so vicious.

When Jesus came into the world, His message was simple: God is ready to forgive anyone, of any sin. Jesus is described by the New Testament as God, who looked upon the suffering of human beings in this world and was compelled to do something. He determined to leave heaven, take the body of a man and become one of us, so that He might be able to die for us and all of our sins. When Jesus died, He paid for the sins of every person, for all time.

Jesus said if we will come to Him in sincere repentance for our sins and ask Him for forgiveness, He will remove all our sins and make us perfect in the sight of God. Why He would be willing to suffer such a horrible death for sinners, He simply loves us.

Because we understand how much we have been forgiven, we are compelled—by the love of Christ, to forgive those who have hurt, or offended us. Even to the degree that a person has taken the life of a dear loved one, we must forgive, because we have been forgiven so much.

Jesus said:  …Freely you have received, now freely give. —Matthew 10:8

Forgiveness is one of the most important principles of Jesus’ kingdom. In fact, it is so important that Jesus stated that the Father will not forgive us unless we forgive those who have sinned against us.

 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” —Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is accomplished by letting a matter go and moving on past the hurt and all of the other emotions we feel. Forgiveness is treating the offending person as if nothing had ever happened. Many people have stated that “they can forgive, but they cannot forget.” This is actually a very selfish way of looking at forgiveness. You must forget the matter, or you will never be able to move out of the bitterness and anger you feel for the one who hurt you. Of course, you will always remember what has happened; but you must not remember so as to repeat your former anger, the desire for revenge, or determine that you really do not want to see this person ever again. We must forgive, and we must forget the wrong that was done to us and allow this person back into our life and treat them as if nothing has ever happened.

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, a man owes a debt which is so large, that it is impossible that he could ever repay what is required. He requests not only forgiveness but that the debt be forgotten. His request is granted, and he is set free. A short time later, this forgiven man finds another who owes him a small amount. This debtor asks that he might be forgiven as the man who owed a great amount was also forgiven. The one forgiven much will not forgive and forget the small debt of the man who asks his forgiveness.

Jesus said that this man will therefore, not be forgiven the large and impossible debt that he owed. Each one of us owes a debt to God for our sins that is so large—we cannot ever pay what is required. Others who sin against us owe us a much smaller debt.

The language is clear: Either we forgive and forget the offenses that others have committed against us, or Jesus will not forgive us for the offenses we have committed against God.

The Unforgiving Servant

Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Matthew 18:23-35

We might miss the subtlety of this important story:

The amount of debt that was owed by the first man–10,000 talents, is equal to more than 2 Billion Dollars. A debt that is impossible to pay.

1 talent = 60 minas
1 mina = 3 month’s wages
1 talent = 60 x (3 months’ wages) = 180 months’ wages
1 talent = 180 months’ wages / 12 months in a year = 15 years’ wages
1 talent = 15 years’ wages

10,000 talents = 150,000 years’ wages.

So if a yearly wage is $15,000 (about 40hrs/week at CA min wage ($8/hr)

150,000 year’s wages = 2,250,000,000

(Two Billion, Two Hundred Fifty Million dollars US)[1]

The point of Jesus illustration is that we, as sinners, owe God a debt which is impossible to repay. If we have come to God in the name of Jesus and have asked Him to forgive all our sins–He has said yes to us and has removed all our debt.

God has also forgotten all our sins.

 … For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” —Jeremiah 31:34

Our goal is to be like our Father in Heaven in all our behavior.

(Jesus Speaking) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:44-45

If we have a family member or friends who have done things that we do not approve of, said hurtful things that have offended us or other members of the family, or have lived a life with sins that have injured us–we MUST FORGIVE AND FORGET THEIR SINS AGAINST US. 

If we will not forgive, Jesus said; our sins will not be forgiven.

The debt that we owe for our sins is huge and unpayable by us. The sins that others have committed against us are small and insignificant in comparison to our own sins–which Jesus suffered and died to forgive.

WE MUST FORGIVE!

“Forgiveness is accomplished by letting a matter go and moving on past the hurt and all of the other emotions we feel. Forgiveness is treating the offending person as if nothing had ever happened. Many people have stated that “they can forgive, but they cannot forget.” This is actually a very selfish way of looking at forgiveness. You must forget the matter, or you will never be able to move out of the bitterness and anger you feel for the one who hurt you.”

You might also be interested in the following articles on forgiveness:

How Does God Forgive Our Sins?
God’s Escape Clause
What Happened to Our Sins When Jesus Died?
Why Most People Will Not Make It To Heaven
Jesus Carried All Your Sins So You No Longer Have To
Jesus Suffered For, and Took the Sins of, Those Who Would Never Receive Him


NOTES:
[1] From Answers.com