A couple of weeks ago, an incredibly moving scene played out in the wake of yet another mass shooting – this time in Charleston, South Carolina. At the bond hearing of the accused shooter, family members of those murdered professed their forgiveness of the murderer.
I’ve been pondering what it is about this scene that makes me uncomfortable. Surely an act of forgiveness — of the most horrendous of offenses, from the most personally wounded of positions — is to be commended, isn’t it?
To me, there is no question that these anguished victims, going against the normal human impulse to lash out and to seek revenge, are drawing from a resource they would likely describe as outside of themselves. It is nothing short of inspiring when someone of faith demonstrates the willingness to live it authentically in such a profoundly agonizing situation.
None of us can say with certainty what we would feel or say in their shoes. It is not my purpose here to declare what i might do or to hold forth on the effects of what they are doing — only to try to understand what i find jarring about it, beyond its rarity.