On October 2, 2006, at 10:30 a.m., Charles Carl Roberts entered a small one-room Amish school house in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, intending to rape the  young girls in attendance.  He dismissed the boys and the adults present and began tying up the girls. Alerted by a 911 call, the state police arrived on the scene within minutes. Roberts, realizing that he would be unable to complete his initial plan, lined up the girls on the floor and killed five of them. Hearing the shots the state troopers broke through the windows and witnessed Roberts turning the gun on himself.   

  The news of this tragic incident spread across the world.  But, what was even more shocking to many people was the fact that the families of the slain girls announced they had forgiven the killer.  They even made contact with the killer’s family to assure them that there was no ill will towards them. The Christianity that believers profess, but which the Amish actually practiced, left the world stunned.  A movie has been made about it, as well as a book written concerning “Amish Grace.”   For the Amish, forgiveness means that they deny themselves the right to revenge or to even hold a grudge.  They do not deny a wrong has taken place, but they give up the right to hurt the wrong doer in return.  The commitment to forgive is intricately woven into their lives and their community. They are a people who take the words of Jesus seriously.  Their nonviolent traditions have shaped their way of life.  Several members of the Amish community attended the killer’s funeral and set up a fund to help support his wife and children. 

  This is a true story that tugs at our hearts.  I ask myself, could I have been as forgiving?  Vengeance and hate would have been the more natural reaction.  Yet, we know that our Lord taught us to love and forgive.  “For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”   Hebrews 10:30   Only God can judge perfectly, because He knows the heart of man.  Forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of wrong doing.
Unforgiven man will pay for his sins.  Leave judgment up to God.

  The real issue is, how could God forgive sinful mankind?  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”   Romans 5: 8-9   Can you believe that?  We had better…that is our salvation.  Our hope is based on God’s love to forgive.  Oh, sin was paid for, as God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.  He bore our sins on Calvary.  In Jesus, we are forgiven.  The forgiven are to be the forgivers.

  Listen to the challenge to followers of Christ: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

4 Responses to “AMISH GRACE”

  1. Max, You well know this is one of the needs of the church–
    and preachers too. How we need to hear the basic doctrines
    of the Bible—-salvation, faith, repentence, confession, baptism,
    the Diety of Christ, the inspiration of the scriptures, etc.–but
    oh how we need to practice, forgiveness, mercy, grace and
    love. This is then living like Jesus wants His followers to
    live. Good devotional today. Glen Wheeler

  2. Max, what a good reminder about how important forgiveness is. It is hard to imagine being able to forgive in a situation like this, but I know that is what Jesus calls us to do. I pray that if I am ever faced with a situaiton like this, I will be able to show God’s grace and forgiveness.

    It is mind-boggling to me to know how much God has forgiven me. I have been so unfaithful and yet He is so very faithful. Have a wonderful week. You and Joann were missed this morning.

  3. Dear Max, Thank you so much for this one on FORGIVENESS. I have heard it said that as a child of God we are more like Him when we Forgive. others. He has forgiven so much,. I believe if we can’t be forgiving, then how can we expect Him to forgive us. We did enjoy watching this story on TV not long ago. Also , Thank you for teaching our Bible class on Sunday. I can see how much you spend on reading and studing the Scriptures in order to teach. You bless me so much by these devotionals as I know others are blessed too
    Love and Prayers, Joann

  4. Hi Max, thanks for making us stop and remember how forgiveness can truly transcend tragedy. We much too often forget that our GOD wants us to travel the path of forgiving rather than revenge. On another note please allow me to express my gratitude for you now teaching our small group on Sundays. Patsy and I both have marveled how you are like a painter, creating a masterpiece and we are being able to observe as you paint the harmony of the Gospel. Especially your vivid explanation about baptism or immersion this past Sunday was extremely interesting. We serve a great GOD and I pray that He will continue to use you in His service. See you and Joann this coming Sunday.

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