Q: What first drew you to the “Emanuel” project?
A: I had just gotten married in June 2015, and I was on my honeymoon in New York. I walked into the bedroom, and my wife was crying. She told me nine people had been shot in their Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.
Then she looked at me and said, “You don’t understand, they’re forgiving him. The family members are forgiving the murderer.” I remember looking at her and saying, “I hope whoever tells that story doesn’t skip that part.” It was that moment for me — encountering this radical, scandalous forgiveness and love for the murderer — that drew me into the story. I wanted the world to know that part of the story.
Q: What was different in this story?
A: It was that they loved him. It was this moment when (survivor) Felicia Sanders said something to him that really changed me: “We enjoyed you.”
When I go out and talk about the film, I’m not just talking about them forgiving him because they wanted to be emotionally free from him. I’m talking about a kind of love you rarely see. Their love for the shooter was a love that said, “I will bear the full weight of the wrong,” which is the highest kind of love — a love for your enemy.
Thanks to @mercnews for picking up my interview with @EmanuelTheMovie director Brian Ivie. If you didn't get to a theater last night, you have one more chance to see this powerful film tomorrow night. @PrayAndActNow https://t.co/zoiGA128CQ
— Jamie Aten (@drjamieaten) June 18, 2019