Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

We live in some dark times. But we can carry His light to fight the darkness.

On June 17, 2015, nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were shot and killed at a bible study by a stranger who came into their midst. The stranger, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, sat with them in their bible study, then shot his nine victims.

Mr. Roof later admitted to authorities of his racial and political motives for murder. He admitted his intent was to create division.

What now? What would you do?

If a killer came and took the life of a loved one…maybe a friend, or family member…what would you do? Maybe even your own spouse or child?

I cannot imagine the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts that raced through the hearts and minds of the families of the victims. In such a stressful, emotionally crushing time, the enemy could have gotten a foothold in their hearts and encouraged hateful thoughts and deeds to take over.

Instead, the families leaned heavily into the strength of the Lord where their strength failed. They tapped deep into the love Christ gave to them, so that they would not add more darkness to the circumstance.

Light drives away darkness

They rose and showed the world the love of Christ: They publicly forgave Mr. Roof. There was no condemnation in their statements to him. The families told him they forgave him, and urged him to repent.

As Christians, we are called to do no less in the face of an enemy who would love to see us fall and turn away from what God calls us to do in His name.

In forgiving, the love of Christ brought people together in unity, rather than dividing them, as the enemy intended. There will be pain, and there will be discord, but there is now a ray of God’s hope.

The light of God can illuminate the darkest, murkiest night. As His hands and feet, we are to carry His light deep into the heart of it. Hold fast, and His light will burn brighter, and the night will give way to His new dawn.