Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A lesson on forgiveness from Amish

The Amish in the United Sates are from a christian denomination and they reject many types of modern technology in their effort to lead a life true to holy scriptures. The Amish separate themselves from mainstream society for religious reasons. They restrict the use of cars, telephones and television to varying degrees. The Amish emphasizes plainness and piety above modernity.

Last week there were three incidents of deadly school shootings in the United States. The Amish schoolhouse attack in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was the deadliest and the most horrendous which sent shock waves through out the United States.

Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old truck driver who lived in the area, carried a shotgun and a handgun into a rural schoolhouse, state police said. Then he lined the Amish girls against the blackboard, tied them together by their feet, and shot them in the head, execution style at point blank range. He sent his last bullet into his own head.

Three girls died in the classroom. Seven others, some severely wounded, were rushed to nearby hospitals. Two other children died later.

Roberts had nothing against the Amish community. He chose Amish schoolhouse because it was close by and there was no security. Roberts was bent on killing young girls as a way of “acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago” when he was a boy, the police said.

Roberts had brought violence to a peace-loving community who live mostly by crop farming and dairy farming and they believe that violence is evil.

Within hours of the shooting the Amish community reached out to Roberts' wife and his three small children. They told Roberts' wife that they will forgive him and that they pray for the victims that he killed as well as his wife and children.

Whenever there is a school shooting in the US, hordes of journalists, TV and cameramen converge on the site to report the news. In the same manner an army of people who came to report the Amish schoolhouse shooting were surprised to find the calm and dignified manner in which the Amish handled this tragedy.

They look like something from another world. Their simple clothing never changes with the trends, and their humble demeanour makes you feel that time has stood still in this place.

As is so often the case when such tragedy strikes, they do not torment themselves with the endless questions of how and why and pointing fingers of blame. Instead, they will turn their eyes to the future, and not waste time seeking an answer to the inexplicable.

What is most remarkable is that several persons from the Amish community were at Roberts' funeral. They have forgiven him and they prayed for him.

Amish refuse to turn their hurt to hate. They allow their faith to carry them to forgiveness. The Amish have shown the Americans how to heal even in the face of the worst calamity.

The Amish have responded to violence with love, to rage with forgiveness. This is truly a moving experience, and a demonstration of how this community hold's firm to the rock of their values when they are faced with such a horrible situation.

Technorati tags: America, Amish, faith, school killings, forgiveness

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