Tragedy in South Carolina, part 2

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him”—Psalms 28:7

“This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”-Harry Dixon Loes

In my previous article, I shared what I believe was a biblical perspective concerning the tragic massacre which occurred during a Bible study at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. As previously mentioned, my heart goes out to the troubled young man who committed such a horrible atrocity. Again, I pray that the love and forgiveness the victims’ families extended to him will penetrate his heart, causing it to receive the love, forgiveness, healing and new life that only Jesus Christ can give.

In today’s article, I wish to stress that no matter what happens in our lives, there has to be a song. As usual, I began this column with a song—“This Little Light of Mine.” Since I am a musician, I often relate to life through music. The lyrics to this particular selection speak volumes. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

What does this particular song have to do with the South Carolina tragedy? EVERYTHING! Even when facing certain death, these parishioners extended so much love and kindness to Dylann Roof that he admitted that he almost did not carry out this heinous act. But he did carry it out, didn’t he? Why? Because his heart became hardened through “the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) Facing certain death, these dear people embraced and lived the message of this song! These dear ones are not the victims! They are the VICTORS because they overcame evil with good! (Romans 12:21)

I personally believe these families are going to be just fine because they chose to extend God’s love and forgiveness to someone who offered them hatred and death in return. How can they truly love this person? Because they chose to draw upon “the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given unto them.” (Romans 5:5) Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Psalms 147:3 says “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

To say that the lives of the victors’ families have been forever changed is an understatement. They will never again see their loved ones in this life, but if they believe in Christ, Who is the Resurrection and the Life, they will be reunited with them for eternity. (John 11:25, 26) What a living hope and a comforting promise! This is the reason they can sing. The lives of their loved ones may have been snuffed out, but the devil could not steal their song! Please, do not let the devil steal your song! Psalms 89:1 says, “l will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” These people were praying and singing gospel songs during Dylann’s arraignment! I personally believe music can be used as a healing instrument for the soul. A song can touch the heart in ways that nothing else can. This is music therapy at its finest!

What can we learn from this scenario? First, I believe, that because the victors and their families chose to walk in love, much racially-charged violence was averted. One of the family members said that “love is stronger than hate.” Amen! In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Again, 1 Peter 4:8 says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” A multitude of sins was covered because of the godly response of these families.

Secondly, God is using what the enemy meant for evil, and He is turning it around for good. The Lord is getting the glory! People from all walks of life are witnessing the love and healing power of the Lord, as they observe these precious believers follow Christ’s commandment to love their enemies. He is using this tragedy to touch the heart of this nation, as well as the world. Perhaps many hardened hearts needed to be softened. Indeed, this event has touched my heart tremendously.

Romans 8:35 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… “ Verses 37,38, and 39 go on to say “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, no angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Last, but not least, please read the lyrics to the beloved hymn, “It is Well with My Soul,” penned by Horatio Spafford, after he experienced the tragic loss of his four daughters. Neither time nor space will permit me to type all of the verses to this song, but I hope you will take the time to look up these powerful lyrics as they minister to your heart. THERE HAS TO BE A SONG!

“When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, It is well with my soul


It is well (It is well)

With my soul (With my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul—Horatio Spafford

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