“And then I saw the souls of the men who had massacred my wife and child. They looked fevered with agony over what they had done; and they had been waiting quite a long time to beg me for forgiveness, because once a soul has done such a horrible act, their fate is really in the hands of those they harmed. These poor, beggared souls knew that until I forgave them, they would not be able to complete their soul development.” They Serve Bagels In Heaven: One Couple’s Story of Love, Eternity and the Cosmic Importance of Everyday Life

I am struck by the seemingly instant forgiveness bestowed upon Dylann Storm Roof by the relatives of the nine people he shot down in Charleston, South Carolina. Incredibly, the grieving relatives offered the 21-year old racist forgiveness at his bond hearing, and told him that they were praying for his soul, even as they described the pain of their losses. They even spoke of love:

“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”


Dylann Roof’s heinous act was an expression of racial hatred, designed to magnify powerlessness, create chaos and spread violence. Instead, his horrific act was met with forgiveness, love and kindness. As stated in my bookspreading love and kindness can reach a magic tipping point that will result in less violence, while energizing and enabling people to live in a space of joy instead of a space of lack and disappointment.

The relatives’ surprising choice set an amazing example for significant states and companies to emulate. Many of them quickly began to remove the Confederate flag (to many a symbol of racism) from both flag poles and merchandise that displayed it on store shelves. It certainly does appear that the love, kindness and forgiveness passed forward in South Carolina reached a magical tipping point. By forgiving Dylann, these grieving relatives, so filled with Amazing Grace, greatly benefitted themselves on a physical, emotional and spiritual level while they consciously enabled Dylann to continue his soul development.

Dylann will probably get the death penalty on this current earthly journey, but how enlightening it would be to be able to witness both his Life Review when he crosses over and the amount of atonement and healing his soul will now be able to achieve once he is back on the Other Side.

And how about the Life Reviews of the grieving relatives who chose forgiveness over hatred? Here’s another quote from They Serve Bagels In Heaven: “The requirement for each soul to evolve spiritually is the reason for this physical incarnation.”

Can there be any doubt that the relatives of those gunned down made a conscious choice to love, forgive and further evolve to their highest goods on their spiritual journey in this lifetime?

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