Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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Part of my heart's been in Charleston, South Carolina these past few days. So has a part of America's heart. There was this hate-driven murder, of nine Christian worshipers in the church. It’s devastated the city and it’s riveted our nation. Seasoned reporters have been groping for words. They come up with words like "horrific" and "heartbreaking." But even more overwhelming than the brutal crime was the response of the families whose loved ones were murdered. "I forgive you."

News anchors have been shaking their heads. They’re trying right on-air to comprehend what the family members said to the shooter. Forgiveness being offered, even as they wept over the cherished loved ones that he had taken from them.

One CNN anchor may have said it best: he was standing outside the church, listening to the spontaneous singing of hymns, and reflecting on the stunning contrast between what I would call a horrific crime and a holy response. Here’s what he said, "There is so much grace here. Amazing grace."

A young man mercilessly executes the people he'd been with for an hour of prayer and Bible study. Leaving a survivor to be sure the world heard about it. The darkness was very dark that awful night in Emanuel AME Church.

But the Light has been so much brighter! As the world watches the stark contrast between the ugliness of hate, right next to the blazing light of supernatural love.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Charleston - So Much Grief, So Much Grace."

Our word for today from the Word of God John 1:5. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it."

There’s one image I’m not going to forget. It’s these hundreds of people, packed into a sanctuary 24 hours after the murders, singing through their tears - "We shall overcome." You know what? They have already.

Through the Savior who said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" So we can be, in the Bible’s words, "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). We can overcome because He has. The overcoming Jesus makes possible is on vivid display in the agony - and really the triumph of Charleston.

Overcoming the power of hate with the power of forgiveness. See hate and bitterness are cancers that eat away at our soul. They’re chains that tie us to the very person who hurt us. But forgiving sets us free. It's not excusing the person or the offense. It's refusing to harbor bitterness or vengeance toward them in our heart. Leaving judgment where it belongs - with God. Because, in our hearts, we've been to the cross where Jesus was slaughtered for our sin. And as He looks at all of us whose sin nailed Him there and He cries out, "Father, forgive them!" What else can we do? As the Bible says, "forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).

And He’s the key to overcoming the darkness inside us with the power of His cross. Anger and prejudice, and selfishness and pride, and lust and deceit. There are dark corners in every human heart. I call it "The animal inside." But, thank God, Jesus tamed that animal called sin when He allowed all of its fury to be unleashed on Him on the cross. So in the Bible’s words, "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person...a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And Jesus is the key to overcoming the despair of grief with the power of hope. There was hope on display for all the world to see in Charleston. A scale where deep grief weighed heavily on one side - and hope, born from a resurrected Jesus, outweighed it on the other side.

I wonder if you’ve ever experienced the power and love of this Jesus for yourself. To carry you through the darkest valleys of your life, with resources only He can give you.

If you’ve never given your life to Him, He gave His life for you. Let this be the day you do that. Tell him, “Jesus, I’m yours.” You can chat with us about it at or text us at 442-244-WORD.

For our hurt, for our sin, for our broken heart - Jesus is, as no one else can be, the "anchor for the soul,” the Bible says, “firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19). Not erasing the pain and the tears. But overcoming it with something greater.

Grace. Amazing grace.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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