"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14
Following reports that 21-year-old Dylann Roof brutally murdered worshipers at a historic black church in South Carolina Wednesday night in an attempt to start a "race war," a 30-year-old gospel musician posted a message of forgiveness and grace on Roof's since-deleted Facebook page, encouraging him to seek salvation in Jesus Christ.
When it was revealed that Roof had shot and killed nine people after sitting with them for a Bible study at Emmanuel AME Church, Marcus Stanley, a gospel artist who's originally from Norfolk, Virginia, found the killer's Facebook page before it was deleted by authorities.
IJReview first reported that Stanley commented on Roof's profile photo, writing: "I don't look at you with the eyes of hatred, or judge you by your appearance or race, but I look at you as a human being that made a horrible decision to take the lives of nine living and breathing people," Stanley wrote.
"Children do not grow up with hatred in their hearts. In this world we are born color blind. Somewhere along the line, you were taught to hate people that are not like you, and that is truly tragic," Stanley's post continued. "If you are still out there and you have your phone with you ... Give your heart to Jesus and confess your sins with a heart of forgiveness. He is the only one that can save your soul and forgive you for this terrible act that you have done."
"I love you Dylann ... even in the midst of the darkness and pain you've caused. But more importantly, He loves you." Stanley added.
Stanley's own story is one of redemption and hope: the singer reveals on his Facebook page that he has been shot eight times and was paralyzed until he found Christ in 2010 and was able to walk again.
"I forgave the man who shot 7 bullets from a 45 caliber gun into my chest, and 1 bullet into my arm," he writes. "One bullet remains inside my spine that is unable to be moved due to risk of paralysis & I lost the feeling in my right hand permanently. For years I held, bitterness, anger, and rage... but in 2010 when I gave my life to Jesus, I realized that I had to forgive to be free. Forgiving those who hurt you can save your life.
In his message to Roof, Stanley also posted the prayer of salvation, urging him to confess his sins and seek Jesus Christ so that he may have eternal life.
"You said in Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved," Stanley wrote. "Right now, I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now, I am saved."
He added, "Thank you Jesus, for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself."
He concluded the message, "God bless you Dylann."