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Followers of Christ in South Carolina quickly forgave the man who murdered nine worshipers in church. Many people were baffled and even criticized the relatives for forgiving him. The truth is, until we have been forgiven ourselves, we find it hard to forgive others. For that reason, those who have experienced God’s forgiveness for their sins and failures are more apt to forgive others. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Colossians chapter 3: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each others’ faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.” Of course, to forgive does not mean people should not be held accountable for violating the rights of others. God expects human government to see that justice prevails. If it fails, God holds it accountable. This allows us to forgive and free our consciences.

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