Inside Out: Called to Forgive

06.19.19 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Four years ago, the Rev. Anthony Thompson publicly forgave the white supremacist who killed his wife. That was at Dylann Storm Roof’s bond hearing, two days after Roof killed Thompson’s wife and eight others as they prayed at the end of a Charleston church Bible study. 

Jesus commands those who love Him to forgive others. In fact, there’s a lot about our own forgiveness that’s on the line. 

But forgiving a racist mass murderer who killed your wife? 

“When we choose to forgive someone, we allow God to do the judging,” Thompson says. “That’s a part of biblical forgiveness. We ask God to take over. We give the offender and the offense to Him. Because the Bible says we’re not to take revenge but leave room for God’s wrath. God says He will repay. And we are to forgive.” 

Choose the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD option above to listen to my conversation with Rev. Thompson. We talk about his late wife, the Rev. Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson, and about biblical forgiveness—what it is and isn’t, what it requires of the offender (nothing), and how it’s different from the cultural understanding of forgiveness. 

“You’re not going to be able to do it on your own,” he says. “If you don’t believe in God, then you’ll never be able to forgive anybody. Okay? Because it’s going to take Him to help you to do it. If you do believe in Him, you can go to Him and ask Him to help you and He will help you. Because you cannot do it on your own.” 

Learn about the Rev. Thompson, pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church of Charleston, S.C., and his new book, Called to Forgive: the Charleston Church Shooting, a Victim’s Husband and the Path to Healing and Peace.


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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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