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Thoughts on Forgiveness
& the Amish Community in Nickel Mines, PA
by Quaker Anne
10th month, 2006
My thoughts and prayers remain with the innocent Amish victims in Nickel Mines, PA. I was traveling on the day of the shooting and heard the news with a sense of surreal disbelief. I simply couldn't realize it at first. Upon fully grasping the enormity of the horrific crime, I desperately longed for the solitude of our farm that I might privately grieve and pray for those gentle people, the dear children deeply terrified and shocked - the poor victims who died; the sad, shocked, grieving victims who survived.
Never has my heart been so humbled as by the forgiving attitude of the Amish community and families who personally lost so much and yet extended such tender concern even to the family of the gunman. What an extraordinary example they gave us all. To have such deep abiding faith, to really live the true meaning of Christ's message of forgiveness, without a grudge, was such a remarkable act of Christian love that it will inspire me for a lifetime.
I am greatly comforted by the fact that their faith will see them through this almost incomprehensible tragedy. It is reassuring to know that when people really turn their burdens over to the merciful grace of God through his Son Christ Jesus, He will bless them and be their comforter - He will give them peace and the refreshment of His love with the true hope of His promise to mankind.
Revenge really is not ours in any matter. Our place as faithful, humble followers of Christ is to put our faith in Him and His life example and teachings in all things no - matter - what. Christ did not carry a weapon. On the night Christ was betrayed in the garden, in Matthew 26:52, when one of His disciples cut of the ear of the high priest's servant, Christ clearly told that disciple "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Then He healed the ear of that servant. Christ's message was one of forgiveness and peace - His was the ultimate example of true surrender of self to God's plan. Christ did not seek revenge, He forgave his enemies even from the cross and prayed for them: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Mohandas Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." I would add to that - forgiveness is the attribute of the strong of Christian faith .
My committment to be a Christian ambassador of peace is ever more strengthened by the example of those Amish parents who suffered the ultimate unthinkable loss, that of beloved children being brutally murdered. Their complete trust in God is the most remarkable thing I have witnessed in a long, long time. I am grateful for what their faith has taught me because they live the true essence of Christianity - and that is forgiveness and faith in God's mercy and promises. Truly Christ-like. How grateful I am for their example.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:32
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
Peace & God bless thee - kind reader;
Dona nobis pacem.