A beautiful example of racial reconciliation
by Jarvis J. Williams
Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 1:37 pm
Millions of people have seen the video of white North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael Slager shooting unarmed black man Walter Scott multiple times in the back, killing him. Fewer have seen another extraordinary video: Scott’s mother forgiving Slager, who is charged with murdering her son.
The video of the April 4 shooting taken by a local barber is absolutely shocking, but Judy Scott’s response in an interview last week with CNN’s Anderson Cooper is admirable.
“I’m supposed to be really angry and upset and raging and all that, but I can’t. Because of the love of God in me, I can’t be like that,” she told Cooper. “I feel forgiveness in my heart, even for the guy that shot and killed my son.”
When Cooper asked her how she was doing, Scott said, “The Lord is my strength. He’s helping me to hold out.”
She likewise affirmed that knowing God as her personal Savior gives her strength and expressed her love for God and the Lord’s strength as she explained to Cooper how she felt when she learned of her son’s death.
As the interview progressed, Scott continued to talk more about her confidence in the Lord and the love and forgiveness in her heart because of her faith. When Cooper asked her whether she thought justice would be served, she said yes, because she believes God: “I believe that … the God I serve is able. I know God will make a way.”
Scott was also grateful for Feidin Santana, the man who used his phone to capture video of the tragic shooting.
“He was there. God planned that. He’s the ram in the bush,” she said, referencing Genesis 22:13 and allegorically applying it to Santana. “I truly believe that.”
Scott confessed that when she first saw the video of the shooting she could not watch it all the way to the end. Fighting back tears, she said she had to turn away as she saw her son running as a policeman, someone who normally should be protecting us, shooting at him.
And yet, Scott, an African-American woman, publicly forgave Officer Slager, a white cop, for shooting and killing her unarmed African-American son. Scott’s love for her God and her reconciliation with Him allows her to pursue reconciliation with a white man charged with murdering her black son. Her response is a beautiful picture of racial reconciliation. The New Testament is clear: Jesus died and was resurrected to reconcile sinners to God and to each other (Ephesians 2:11-3:13). Judy Scott’s response to her son’s tragic death gives us a wonderful example of what this looks like on the ground in the real world with real people.
Jarvis J. Williams
Jarvis is associate professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a former WORLD contributor.