RSS Feed

Something terrible has happened


June 29, 2015 by Garrett Mitchener

Dear Diego,

Something terrible happened here in Charleston on June 17, 2015. You may have heard about it already. A man went to a church here and murdered nine people at a Bible study. One of them was the pastor. The police caught him the next day. He says he is not sorry, and that he wants to make people sad and angry. He says he did this because he decided to hate people with dark skin.

I know a woman who plays the trombone in my band and is a member of that church. Many of my friends know someone from that church. All of Charleston is sad. President Obama knew the pastor who was killed. He spoke at a memorial service here in Charleston at the college’s arena. He sang Amazing Grace and everyone joined in. I watched it on TV.

Even though this is a sad time for my town, there are reasons to be joyful. A few people tried to make things worse instead of better. Fortunately, almost no one pays them any attention. The shooter wanted to start a fight between white people and black people. But that didn’t happen. Instead, many people of all races have expressed sorrow and behaved peacefully. Many people gathered and stood in a line across our big beautiful bridge to mourn. The families of those who died told the shooter they forgive him. They could have become violent and angry, but instead they chose to behave like Jesus and be forgiving. I’m joyful that so many people are responding to this horrible crime the way Jesus wants us to.

When I see evil in the world, I have to remind myself how Jesus responded. When the Romans and Jewish leaders crucified Jesus, they did the most horrible thing to him they could think of. Even so, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them.” I admire the members of that church and their friends and families for choosing to forgive someone instead of seeking revenge.

When someone does something evil, I wonder why they would do it. But evil isn’t supposed to make sense. God intended for his creation to be beautiful and orderly, but sin causes horrible nonsense. Evil will continue until God is finished healing creation, and until then, bad things will happen for which there is no real reason.

I also wonder why God doesn’t prevent evil things from happening. This is an old question. The book of Job talks about it. No one really knows the answer, though. But God is working to heal creation. That’s why he sent Jesus. Our mission as Christians is to help. Some day all things will be made new. One week after the shooting, that church held another Bible study. Over 100 people came. See: God can use even the most terrible tragedy for something good.

Please pray for my town!
— Garrett Mitchener


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar