Dr. Anthony Bradley makes the argument that by forgiving Dylann Roof, the families of Emanuel AME changed hearts & history.
From Al-Jazeera America:
During Dylann Roof’s first court appearance after the June 17 murder of nine worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, several families of the victims offered forgiveness to man who did not deserve it.
Why were they so quick to forgive? The families were simply exercising a fundamental Christian virtue. In so doing, they possibly changed the South forever in the process as Confederate flags and symbols are removed from state buildings across the South.
When we suffer injustice, the human heart craves revenge, vindication and retaliation. These are also desires Christ came to save us from. Christians are commanded to respond to injustice with forgiveness. This principle is central to Jesus’ teaching in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matt 6:12). Immediately after this prayer, Jesus tells his disciples, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/6/christian-forgiveness-is-transforming-the-south.html