06/25/2015 08:56 am ET

Can We Have Both Forgiveness And Accountability In The Aftermath Of The Charleston Shooting?

Just a few days after the brutal shooting in Charleston, the victims' family members offered words of forgiveness to alleged shooter Dylann Roof. Others haven't been so quick to take this path, igniting a discussion about faith and forgiveness in the face of such a hateful act.

As Carl S. Stauffer, the co-director of the Zehr Institute of Restorative Justice, told HuffPost Live on Wednesday, forgiveness can be a tool for healing on a community level.

"This kind of forgiveness comes after there's a sense that there's humanity, there's truth-telling, there's remorse, and then there's a forgiveness transaction. And often that transaction is for the community, not just for the individual," Stauffer told host Marc Lamont Hill.

Even after a community forgives, it can still hold the person behind the violence accountable, he added:

The media and public opinion often seems to make it sound like [mercy and justice] are [mutually] exclusive decisions that need to be made. And I think we need to say no, they can come together. We can have mercy and we can hold people accountable. ... We can uphold the humanity of all people involved but we can also hold each other [accountable] as humankind.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about faith and forgiveness in the wake of the Charleston shooting here.

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Charleston Shooting