9: Called To Forgive

with Anthony Thompson | September 16, 2019

How do you forgive someone who has murdered your spouse and isn't sorry about it? Anthony Thompson's wife, Myra, was one of nine victims shot and killed on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. The shooter purposefully targeted African-Americans in hopes of starting a race war. But when Anthony Thompson and other family members of the victims faced the shooter, it wasn't hate, but love and forgiveness that won the day.

Show Notes and Resources

How do you forgive someone who has murdered your spouse and isn't sorry about it? Anthony Thompson's wife, Myra, was one of nine victims shot and killed on June 17, 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. The shooter purposefully targeted African-Americans in hopes of starting a race war. But when Anthony Thompson and other family members of the victims faced the shooter, it wasn't hate, but love and forgiveness that won the day.

Show Notes and Resources

9: Called To Forgive

With Anthony Thompson
|
September 16, 2019
| Download Transcript PDF

Kim: I want to start with the events of June 17, 2015. I know it’s been four years, but will you take me back to that day.

News footage clips:

“Nine people killed by a young man, 21 years old.”

“White male in his early 20s walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and began shooting.”

“Mr. Roof is charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of the crime.”

“You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people.”

“Roof showed no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed him over a video link.”

“Every fiber in my body hurts. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never hold her again but I forgive you.”

“Your name sir.”

“Anthony Thompson. I forgive you and my family forgives you. We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Give your life to the One who matters the most, Christ. So He can change it. He can change your ways no matter what happened to you. And, you’ll be okay.”

“God have mercy on you.”

Kim: From the FamilyLife podcast network, this is Unfavorable Odds. I’m Kim Anthony.

Unfavorable Odds—it’s all about finding hope and help in those seasons of life when things get pretty difficult. Jesus has promised us that whenever we walk through those dark valleys, He will always be with us. We’ll never have to do it alone. So, on each episode of this podcast, we’ll be talking with people who have learned how—in those dark places of life—to draw their strength from Jesus.

I still remember the overwhelming sadness I felt when I heard about what happened at Mother Emanuel AME Church. My guest for this episode of Unfavorable Odds is one of the voices you just heard. His name is Anthony Thompson. His wife was murdered during the shooting that night. In fact, she was the one leading Bible study when the shots rang out.

Reverend Anthony Thompson is the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He shares his story in his book entitled Called to Forgive. During the weeks leading up to and following my conversation with Anthony, as I read his book—as I watched Emanuel the movie—as I began to see the story unfold, every part of my being was moved with deep and painful emotions. This is by far the most difficult interview I’ve done.

Will you take me back to that day? Your wife, Myra, was excited about some things that were going on in her life.

Anthony: Yes. We were having a good day. She was very excited. She had this great big smile. I mean, just blooming with joy. I was trying to figure out just what was going on because I’d never seen her so joyful. I know I didn’t do it—had nothing to do with it that day. She just had this glow on her that day.

She had her lessons scattered all over the dining room table, wanting me to help her but of course, I told her I’d had enough. She said she wanted to make sure that she would be able to answer all their questions and make sure that she taught the lesson right. She was a perfectionist. She wanted to do a hundred percent which I told her she could get 99, so she tried 99.

Normally, we would walk each other to the door, say goodbye, give a kiss, “Love you.” That particular day for some reason I couldn’t get to the door. As a matter of fact, before she left, she explained to me that she didn’t want me to be at the Bible study. I thought that was pretty odd because we do everything together. Especially when we’re participating in an event and we went back and forth for maybe ten minutes. “I’m coming.” “No, you’re not coming.”

She told me I needed to go to my church which was having a Vacation Bible School for students that day and I went still thinking she kind of tricked me into going. She said there would be a lot of drama there—I went and there was a lot of drama—so I couldn’t get to her Bible study that night as much as I tried.

However, when she was leaving, she kept telling me “Come on, come on, Honey.” She would call me Honey. I’m trying to get to the door but for some reason I couldn’t get there. She told me to meet her outside at the car because the rule is you don’t leave the house until we say Goodbye, hug, kiss—the whole nine yards—but it never happened that day.

I thought I would wait until she comes back home and ask her why she was so full of joy—why she had this look on her face—that very, very happy look—but of course, I never had the chance to ask her that. That evening, when I came home, I received a phone call from Emanuel Church saying that there was some shooting going on around the church, so I dropped the phone and I just get in my car.

I got to Emanuel in about five minutes because we live in the downtown area. However, one of the police officers explained to me they took everybody out of the church and took them to the hotel which was adjacent to the church, so I ran to the hotel. I saw nine ambulances parked strategically—nobody in them—no lights, not anything. I figured he didn’t tell me everything that was going on. I ran to the hotel trying to find her.

When I got there, I saw Sister Polly Sheppard. She was one of the survivors. I saw Felicia Sanders, another survivor, and her grandchild—another survivor. Felicia just looked at me and she said, “Anthony, Myra’s gone.” I said “Yes, I know she’s gone.” I thought maybe out of the room. I said, “I’ll wait until she gets back.” She said “No, she’s gone.” Of course, I didn’t accept it right away.

I ran outside trying to figure out a way to get to Emanuel Church. I mean it was right in front of me. For some reason, I just ran—I just took off—I ran toward the church. I got to the gate and I was about—maybe—five feet away from the door where the police officers were back and forth, back and forth. Somebody snatched me. I found out later on that it was a F.B.I. agent. It took five people to hold me down. I was determined to get in that church. I just kept explaining to them my wife was in there and I needed to get in there.

I asked a lot of questions. Nobody was able to give me any answers. I was an agent for 27 years and I already knew not getting any answers that she was dead. Once I found that out, I just fell down on the ground. I just started crying. I just wallowed on that pavement. I just lost control—oh boy. For the first time in my life I lost control. I just kept saying “I don’t know what to do—I just don’t know what to do.”

All I know is it was over, you know—not that I was going to kill myself or anything but—everything I ever did was for her and I just couldn’t figure out what to do. Then I heard a voice say, “Get up!” I thought maybe one of the first responders—I was trying to figure out why they were being so harsh. I heard them a second time, so I looked around—still didn’t see anybody. Third time, I knew who it was. It was God. He was telling me “Get up!” It wasn’t like “Fear not, this is the Lord.” It was like “Get up!”

So I got up and He’s telling me to remember the sermons I used to have in my congregation about when you lose a loved one—your wife or your husband or your child—and you love them more than you love God—then what are you going to do? I’m like “Not tonight. I don’t want to hear that tonight.” I really didn’t want to hear anything He had to say, but He just kept coming at me.

He gave me a Scripture—Saint Luke, 17th chapter. I’m like “Really?” You know, “Really? I mean, really? Scripture for what?” The Scripture said that things will happen in life—people will do things in life to you to cause you to stumble.

Woe to the one who causes you to stumble. He would rather have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea than to bother one of God’s people. I’m trying to figure out what that’s about. Then the next verse it says, forgive. No matter how many times somebody do something, you forgive them.

I was still trying to figure out what does that have to do with me, because at that time, I had no idea who the killer was—didn’t know his name—didn’t even care about who it was because all my thoughts were about Myra. “Was she okay? Was she still alive and suffering?” All kind of things just ran through my mind.

Kim: You are telling me—I want to make sure I understand this correctly—your telling me that you’re outside of the church when God is speaking to you about forgiving and you don’t even know the state—the full picture. You don’t have the full picture but yet God—in His love for you—reaches down and prepares you for what you are about to find out, and He tells you to forgive.

Anthony: Forgive, and I’m trying to figure out why? Who I have to forgive? So I take this sermon and I’m preaching to my church, but this is after the bond hearing. Before then, I’m trying to figure out what does this have to do with me? I really didn’t want to hear what He had to say that night, but I took the Scripture and I read it and I examined it and I preached it that Sunday.

Before I preached that sermon on Sunday—48 hours after the tragedy—we had to go to a bond hearing. Of course, I was not going. My daughter’s son came to me and said “Father, they’re having a bond hearing and you’re not so sure.” They said, “Well, we’re getting ready to go. I said, “Good, because I’m not going.” I put on my pajamas and I got in my bed. My daughter came to me and said, “Well, Father, if you don’t go, I may have to go without you.” I’m like, “Oh boy.” She’s my baby girl. I wanted to be there for them—I knew—so I got up and I went.

I told them on the way to the bond hearing—I was very adamant about them keeping their mouths closed. I said, “I don’t want you to say anything. This is the first time we’re experiencing anything like this. Whatever you say you’re going to hear it again so keep your mouth closed.” I said, “We’re not going to be there very long. We’re going to be there for a short time.”

So we went, sat down—I was looking at my watch because I was ready to go. First person that speak was Nadine, whose mother was one of the victims, Ethel Lance. She told Dylann, “I forgive you. The Lord have mercy on your soul.” I was like, “You know that’s enough.” I looked at my kids and said, “Let’s go.”

Again, the Lord said, “Get up. I have something to say.” I’m familiar with His voice. You know, if you have a relationship with the Lord you know His voice when He’s talking to you. I heard His voice when I was seven years old saying I was going to be a preacher and I told Him “No.” [Laughter] Of course, He won. That night of the tragedy I heard, so I knew it was Him.

I got up and said, “I have something to say.” On my way to the podium I’m talking to Him. I said, “You better tell me what You have to say because I don’t have anything to say.” All I could remember was saying, “Son, I forgive you. My family forgives you.”

[Audio Clip]

“Confess and repent. Give your life to the One it means the most to: Christ.”

[Audio Clip]

“He can change your life. He can change your attitude. He can change your ways. You are in a lot of trouble right now, but if you do that, everything else will be okay.”

[Audio Clip]

As soon as I said that—I mean immediately—my body was trembling. I asked my kids if they seen me. They said, “No you weren’t.” I said, “Yes I was.” It was just like only Dylann and I were in the room. Nobody else was there. All I can remember is hate and anger—everything that I was feeling because I was a little upset.

Kim: As you should have been.

Anthony: It just left me—and I had this peace—I mean, I was light as a feather. I had this peace. I mean I was so peaceful. He just took it all away.

Kim: In that moment?

Anthony: In that moment—that peace that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus—it’s real.

Kim: It’s real.

Anthony: I mean it’s real. I preached that sermon—I don’t know how many times. I preached about forgiveness—I don’t know how many times. I thought we had it—but we didn’t have it. But I had it that day. I know what it feels like. I felt it. I still have it today. I feel it today and that peace enables me to move forward in my life—enables my children to move forward. It enabled the Charleston community to move forward.

Just the act of forgiveness—it brought our city together. The community was united. People were trying to encourage and console each other. I mean, it didn’t matter what race or culture or denomination—all that was like it had been erased from our minds. All of a sudden, the confederate flag comes down when nobody was talking about the flag. There were other times when we were marching, no flag came down, but it came down. We never even indicated—said anything about it.

Kim: What a heavy price to pay—

Anthony: Yes.

Kim: —to get that flag down.

Anthony: Yes, it was a heavy price to pay. Just last night—I still talk to her. Jesus—It’s hard because she’s not here, but the good that the Lord brought out of it—He brought a lot of good out of it and that’s what’s going on. Even in that moment after I received that peace, He told me “I want you to spread the gospel of forgiveness.” Now that didn’t happen right away. It took a couple of months for that to happen because I got a little angry with Him—but here I am doing it—I do what He wants me to do.

Kim: Yes.

Anthony: As I spread the gospel of forgiveness and with that, I get my peace and it helps me. It’s helping a lot of people.

Kim: It is.

Anthony: Yes, a lot of people to my surprise had no knowledge of what forgiveness was about. They didn’t even know you could do it. Some people just didn’t understand it at all. I’ve been speaking for almost three years—just going across the United States speaking—and it’s changed a lot of peoples lives and a lot of people’s hearts. They’re receiving the peace that I’ve received because it comes from forgiveness.

I spoke at a predominately white aristocratic church in Mount Pleasant which is about, maybe, three and a half miles as you go across the bridge at Charleston and you’re there. After I got through, one lady about my age, a white female—she had two boys with her—she said “Reverend Thompson, I used to be a racist but when I heard about you forgiving this young man and about the other people forgiving him,” she said, “I repented of racism.”

Kim: Wow!

Anthony: Yes, so that’s what forgiveness is doing, things like that. When she said that, I told everybody, “You know what? We need to give this lady a hand. We need to give God some praise.” We praised God that night. She was afraid to even let people know that she was against it—you know peer pressure, job pressure, or status in life—but when she heard about the forgiveness, that’s when she had the courage to do it. She had her two little boys there and she said she wanted them to be there so they could hear that too.

I’ve had people to come up with all kind of stories about hitting their mother—and it’s always somebody in the family. It’s not like a friend hitting the mother—or haven’t talked to their sister in twelve years and after they hear what God’s telling them, they ask me “How do you do it?”—

Kim: How do you do it?

Anthony: —because, yes, they want to do it. I’ve had someone touch base with me after they’ve done it and express the joy that they feel. Those are my rewards. This is what makes me feel better. Forgiveness is really—

Kim: —powerful.

Anthony: —all we need to do. It’s powerful because we carry burdens. Most of the burdens we carry are things that somebody offended you, somebody made you mad, somebody made you angry, somebody did an injustice to you. We carry these things. We try to take revenge. We try to hold malice. We take grudges. But if you do that, that makes you sick. It can destroy your spiritual life. It can destroy you physically. It brings on stress because you never let it go. All you need to do is ask somebody to forgive you—or you forgive them—and my goodness the peace you can experience! Because people have experienced this peace, I’m telling you.

I had a 99-year-old lady come to me. I preached at First Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. She walked up and said, “Reverend Thompson, I learned something today.” I’m like, “Really?” I said, “How old are you?” She said, “99.” I’m like, “I could learn a lot from you.” She said she learned she was a racist. She said she wanted me to forgive her because she thought she wasn’t—but when she heard the message she figured out she was—and she wanted me to forgive her. I mean it’s just incredible. I’m in awe every day.

Kim: To hear those stories it is incredible that so many people are embracing forgiveness because of what you and the others did in light of what happened. Yet you have received some pushback as well. There were some people that were complaining about the fact that you all chose to forgive so soon. What were some of the excuses they were giving for you to not forgive?

Anthony: Well, they said forgiving him was like a cop-out because I must be experiencing—what did they call it?—post traumatic slavery mentality. I was like “Really?” That one just—so I explained to them, I said, “Now, I want you to hear me very clearly. You’re talking about slavery. Well, I’m not a slave, so no way in the world I could be experiencing that. I didn’t forgive Dylann thinking he’s going to do me some harm. He can’t do me any harm because he’s in jail.” That one just went out the window.

Some people said I forgave him, and my forgiveness means that I didn’t want him to be punished. I said, “Well I went to court for two months to make sure that he got punished.” So you see a lot of people have the wrong interpretation. That’s why I wrote that book because they needed to know.

From speaking and talking across the United States and getting these negative attitudes towards forgiveness, that’s when I realized they needed to know what biblical forgiveness is compared to secular forgiveness. That’s one reason why I wrote the book because people have it mixed up. They think that you’re taking the person off the hook when—actually—I’m taking myself off the hook. [Laughter]

Kim: Now I’m one of those people—I did not grow up learning about forgiveness. It was always payback. It wasn’t until I came to know Christ that I learned about biblical forgiveness. Will you explain what biblical forgiveness is? What do you say to that person who wants to forgive but they’re having a really hard time doing so? How do they go about forgiving?

Anthony: Okay. When we forgive, it means you’re allowing God to be the judge not yourself, because only God can judge somebody’s heart. This is why you have to look at that person. First of all, you look at yourself. You look at yourself and who you are in the eyes of the Lord. In the eyes of God we’re what? All sinners. We may have committed different sins, but we’re all sinners. That’s what I looked at when I saw Dylann. I saw him as a sinner in God’s eyes and I saw myself as a sinner in God’s eyes. If God forgave me, why can’t I forgive Dylann? That’s biblical forgiveness.

God says in that “Our Father” pray. You say well the Father—you’re asking for forgiveness, right? And God says you’re forgiven. 1 John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But He also says if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, then He can’t forgive you yours. So there it is.

I mean, you could ask God to forgive you—I don’t care how many times—but until you go to your fellow man, and tell her or him they’re forgiven—you’re not. It’s separation from the Lord. You can’t receive the peace that you need because He’s the only one who can give it to you. So you’re stuck.

I tell people who can’t forgive—you know just like you were at that point and I was at that point years ago myself—many years ago—first of all, you’ve got to give your life to Christ. He’s the one who died on the cross to save you from your sins. That’s another thing a lot of people don’t want to do. Some people who don’t believe in God—but you have to believe in Him to get this forgiveness because you can’t forgive yourself.

Christ died on the cross. He saved you from your sins, so you’ve got to go to Him. You’ve got to go to Him, ask Him to forgive you. Then you have to ask Him to help you to forgive the person you can’t forgive—because you’re not going to be able to do it on your own. I didn’t do it on my own. He intervened. I had no power.

Kim: When we choose not to forgive the people who have offended us, we think that we’re harming them in some way—we’re getting the payback—but the truth is we are allowing them to control us from afar.

Anthony: Yes; yes.

Kim: And as you said, so many people are stuck in that place of unforgiveness.

Anthony: They are. They are—and that’s one thing they don’t realize. I’m glad that God freed me because I did not want Dylann to have control of my life—nor my children’s life, nor this community—because you reap what you sow. The Bible says that. You can not overcome evil with evil—it says you have to overcome evil with good because whatever you do, you’re going to get it back and you’re going to be stuck. You’re going to be stuck in misery until you do it.

Kim: Six weeks after the horrific incident at Emanuel, Dylann Roof writes from his jail cell, “I would like to make it crystal clear I do not regret what I did. I am not sorry. I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed. I have shed a tear of self pity for myself. I feel pity that I had to do what I did in the first place.” What do you do with that?

Anthony: Pray for him. I pray for Dylann twice a day—

Kim: Do you?

Anthony: —that he would give his life to the Lord that he had and just pray that the wrong thing that he would confess and repent of his sins so that God could heal him. So he can feel the peace that I have. I heard that in the courtroom and a reporter asked me did I want to take my forgiveness back? No, because it’s like giving my peace back—that God gave to me. I would never do that—so with Dylann, it’s a prayer.

I would really love to see Dylann. I would like to go to that jail cell, and I would love to go there. I wrote him a letter. It’s in my book too. I wrote him a letter letting him know who my wife was—that she was a pillar of the community—our home—that she was a person. Then I let him know that he was responsible for what he did—not anybody else—and at the same time, I still forgive him.

But I also let him know that if you want me to come, I will go visit Dylann—just to sit down and speak with Dylann even if it took three or four days—four or five months—just to get to see who he really is and he can see who I really am. He can see who I really am and get beyond the color of my skin. He may repent and confess because then he will see I’m not the person he thought I was. Then maybe I’ll see him differently.

Who knows? I know my wife would love to see Dylann come to where she is. That’s the kind of person she is. She would love to see Dylann. I can see her now saying “Oh Dylann, you made it! You made it! Let me introduce you to my friends.” Yes, that’s what she would want.

Kim: Wow. You know what Anthony? As you’re talking, I’m reminded of how Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those who put Him on that cross and there were some who repented. There was a thief—one of the thieves on the cross repented.

Then Stephen—while he was being martyred—he prayed for the people who were persecuting him, and Saul was in that group. He was holding peoples’ coats I believe, and he became the Apostle Paul. What you’re saying is you desire to imitate the biblical forgiveness you saw Christ demonstrate on the cross so that Dylann can have that same opportunity to turn his life around, even though his life will be cut short because of what he’s done.

Anthony: Yes, I mean his life will be cut short, but at least he’ll have peace. At least he’ll leave this place and all the things that he caused on himself and all the people may have caused him—I don’t know—he’ll be relieved of all that. That’s the point.

When you think about Christ, like you said—when you think about Him going to the cross—now before He actually got to the cross, I mean He was just literally whipped. Then He went to the cross and got nails in Him, thorns in—I mean who suffers—we don’t suffer like that today. You understand? That’s a lot of suffering for people like me—so I can be forgiven.

I don’t have to go through all that to forgive somebody. It’s very easy for me because Christ did it—He makes it so much easier for me. So it should be easy for all of us to do it because of what Somebody went through to do it for us. The only pain we bear is the pain we hold when we don’t forgive.

Kim: That’s a powerful statement right there.

Anthony: Yes.

Kim: It really is. Now you mention how you could imagine Myra if Dylann were to turn his life to Christ—give his life to Christ—how she would probably say “Hey, you made it!”

Anthony: Yes!

Kim: I want to take you back to the arraignment that took place 48 hours after the shooting. There was a time where you describe in your book how you were looking at Dylann on the screen and you began to focus in on him and you remembered something that Myra told you about.

Anthony: I didn’t know all of it until afterward and all the stuff started registering. She came home—you know when she comes home from Bible study—first thing she wants to tell me what’s going on—and she came running in the house that day and she could not stop to tell me about this young white guy who came to their Bible study and how she was just enthused and he looked like he was homeless. They took him, gave him food, money and all this. She said, “I wish he’d come back again.”

When I sat down after all of this was over and had stuff start coming to my mind, I realized that young man was Dylann. She expressed her love for him not even knowing he was going to be the one that killed her. That’s why I know how she would feel because of the way she felt then.

Sometimes I think about—did she know some of this before it happened because she was just enthused about this young man being in Bible study. But that’s how she is—that’s how she was. I wasn’t surprised at it because Myra’s that kind of person. She was a giver. She had all these dreams but her most important gift was giving. Every degree she got was because it would benefit somebody else. She would be a school teacher because it would benefit the kids not her. It wasn’t about money.

One day she came to me and she said, “I want to go back to school.” She was teaching at a school where disadvantaged kids—orphan kids—kids taken out of homes. It wasn’t the kid’s fault, but these kids came up hard and they were hard. I mean cursing and carrying, fighting and fussing.

But she said one day she wanted to go back to school. I’m like “Okay, for what?” She said, “I want to go to the Citadel and get my masters because hard children need help.” She said she wanted to get her masters in reading because she knew that was a big problem. They put up this defense and all this—she looked past drama. She always looked past that and saw their real hearts. She went back to school and she got her masters in reading. She went back and her classroom was the quietest classroom in the whole school.

She said she wanted to go back to school a second time and I said, “I know—for your kids, for your kids.” This time she wanted to be a counselor because she wanted to reach them individually—and she did. When she became a counselor at the school, students who were not going to the counselor before wanted to go to counseling. This changed—the whole school was quiet. She changed the whole school. That’s the kind of person she was. She did things for the benefit of other people and never for herself, you know—never for herself.

For Dylann—she would love to see Dylann in heaven—she would love it. I can hear her telling me right now, “You’re not doing enough. You need to go see him. You need to go see him. You’re not doing enough.” I mean because if it was me who had gone and it was her, she’d run circles around. I feel like I’m doing a whole lot, but she’d be doing a whole lot more, believe me.

I’m all about anything to make Dylann’s life better. We’ve all done things wrong—some wrong things. He murdered my wife but I’m not angry with him—I’m not mad at him. I thank God we have a God because she’s okay. She’s not with me. Oh yes, I’ll miss her but I’d never want her to come back here. I just wait until my turn comes.

Kim: Dylann Roof’s intentions were to start a race war. He purposely chose Charleston because of its racist history. He purposely chose Emanuel AME Church because of its rich history in the African American community. To him it was the ideal target—and yes, there was a war—there was a battle alright—it was a battle between good and evil. And as horrific as the outcome was, good won. And good won through the simple word of forgiveness.

Now, I don’t know where you are after hearing Anthony’s story. Maybe you think this crime is so horrific that it is unforgivable—or maybe you agree that biblical forgiveness is the right thing to do. Perhaps you’re somewhere in between and you’re not sure one way or the other. Well, wherever you are, I do want to encourage you to read Anthony Thompson’s book, Called to Forgive.

There was so much we didn’t get a chance to cover during this interview. He shares the details of that night and the days following. He also shares some historic and modern-day examples of tragedy and forgiveness. He gives us a thorough look at the various views of forgiveness and the results of those views. And he does an excellent job of explaining why biblical forgiveness is the only path to healing, from even the deepest, most painful offenses. He also has a history lesson that uncovers some of what led to Dylann Roof’s actions in the first place. It was eye opening.

When I think about Anthony describing Myra, I know that she is a woman I would love to have known—an incredibly generous woman. Obviously filled with the love of Christ. Known for such selfless acts of kindness. She cared about people. She loved people. She loved Dylann Roof. The same young man who would take her life.

I don’t believe that Myra or any of the other eight precious people who were slain that night at Emanuel AME Church died in vain. I just don’t believe it. Do I wish that it wouldn’t have happened? Of course I do. There’s no excuse for it—no excuse at all. Yet God is still using even this tragedy to teach the world about forgiveness. The forgiveness He offers to each of us.

Thanks for listening. If you’d like more information about Anthony Thompson or his book, Called to Forgive, take a look at our show notes on the Unfavorable Odds page at FamilyLife.com/podcasts.

If you enjoyed today’s conversation with Anthony Thompson, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the podcast. You can search for Unfavorable Odds on Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you go for podcasts.

By the way, we’d love to get your feedback, and if you have some nice things to say, positive reviews are greatly appreciated. And if I can ask you a big favor, help us spread the word about our podcast. Maybe, think about one or two people you think might enjoy or benefit from listening and pass on the information for Unfavorable Odds. I would greatly appreciate it.

Next time on Unfavorable Odds, you’ll meet Sarah Mae and hear her story about learning to forgive someone who wounded her deeply. And in this case, it was her alcoholic mother.

Sarah: And so I yell out, “I’m going to kill myself,” and she said, “Go ahead. I dare you.”

Kim: Sarah Mae, next time, on Unfavorable Odds.

I’m Kim Anthony. Thanks for listening to this episode of Unfavorable Odds. Some of the audio you heard on this episode came from Charleston County Government and Voice of America.

Unfavorable Odds is produced by FamilyLife® and is a part of the FamilyLife Podcast Network.

 

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Unfavorable Odds with Kim Anthony

Four time national champion gymnast Kim Anthony introduces us to men and women who have faced trials, tragedies and suffering and who have found that when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with you every step of the way.

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