>ISSUE: Forgiveness

>The Amish community is just amazing to me. Beautiful. If only there were more people like them in the world. If only I were more like them. Here are excerpts from two articles regarding the recent slayings:

‘Life has to go on’ for Amish community (MSNBC.com, 3 Oct 2006)
Spirit of forgiveness rules the day in face of school shooting tragedy

John said he wouldn’t do a television interview. The Amish believe pictures are a sign of vanity, and pictures on TV are an even worse way of indulging in the evils of the world.

But John was willing to talk about the horrible school shooting that brought so much evil to this peaceful world. “We’re very concerned that no message of revenge gets out,” he said. “We believe in forgiveness.”

Don’t misunderstand John or the other members of his community. Don’t let the 18th century clothes he wore, plain black slacks held up by suspenders, plain white shirt, his straight beard, and otherwise clean shaven face and straw hat, don’t let that make you think for one second that he doesn’t hurt, grieve or mourn.

His faith teaches him to believe all of this horror will help bring him and his neighbors closer to their God, closer to each other and closer to “the English.”

The True Meaning of Forgiveness (The Daily Nightly, MSNBC.com, 4 Oct. 2006)
All around the family watched, crying softly, even the little children, who listened as their grandfather told them not to hate the gunman who did this.

“Forgive,” he was instructing them. “Forgive, as God forgives us…”

Rev. Rob Schenck called it the most powerful moment he’s seen in 25 years as a minister.

This forgiveness seems especially incredible coming on the same day the coroner is reported to have counted almost 20 bullet wounds in the body of a 7-year-old girl.

An Amish woman told me perhaps the good that might come of this tragedy.

“We can tell people about Christ and actually show you in our walk that we forgive, not just say it but in our walk of life,” she said. “You know you have to live it. You can’t just say it. ”

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