Wednesday, October 4, 2006

A Lesson That We Could All Stand To Learn

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many people speak of Christian values but some people not only talk the talk,  they walk out their beliefs in their everyday lives.  While I am certainly too addicted to technology to imagine living the Amish  lifestyle,  I pray that in the face of such tragedy I can emulate their spirit of forgiveness.  It is a lesson that we could all stand to learn.  
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the Amish community as well as the surviving spouse and children of Charles Carl Roberts.
ABC News: Amish Say They 'Forgive' School Shooter
Religion Emphasizes Forgiveness in Small Community
by Charles Gibson, ABC News

NICKEL MINES, Pa., Oct. 3, 2006 --- - We arrived in this community of Nickel Mines, Pa., curious about how the Amish, who live differently than most Americans do, might react to what was an unthinkable act of violence.  It didn't take long for us to learn that the Amish families most affected by this tragedy have responded in a way that might seem foreign to most of us: They talk about Monday's school shooting only in terms of forgiveness.

"We're just trying to support each other and trying to let it sink in," said 17-year-old Dorothy King. Two of her cousins were shot, and one is in critical condition, but like so many in the Amish community, she forgives the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts.   "We think it's all in God's hand," King said. "If this wouldn't have happened, something still would have happened because their time was up.

Midwife Rhita Rhoads was present for the births of two of the five girls who were killed and also speaks of forgiving the gunman. "If you have Jesus in your heart and he has forgiven you  [how] can you not forgive other people?"

"I'm sure it's going to be a struggle to go on without a loved one like that," said Elmer Fisher.  His 7-year-old cousin, Naomi Fisher, was among those murdered. When asked if Roberts' wife would still be welcome in the community, Fisher said he believed she would, adding she would be welcome even at the funerals for the dead girls.

Passages from the New Testament are taken literally in this community, and the Amish believe they need to love their enemies, which may be beyond the ability of most people, especially so close in time to the murders.



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