The last several weeks have been filled with unspeakable tragedy for parents and children around our country. In less then two weeks alone, gun violence has marred the peace and security of school rooms across the U.S. None has been more stunning than the shootings at an Amish school house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And yet, out of the tragedy has emerged one of the most unforeseen characteristics: forgiveness.
Despite the unspeakable and unimaginable pain the families of these young girls must be suffering, it is their peacefulness and willingness to forgive that has most moved me. Even more than that, is the manner in which the Amish have reached out to the family of the perpetrator, Charles Roberts, and have embraced and recognized the pain and suffering they too are experiencing as they try to piece together why their father, husband, son, and brother would engage in such horrific crimes.
And it stands in sharp contrast to the words of a woman in Virginia who, just two days ago, lost her daughter, grandson, husband, and nephew to murder--all four killed by an enraged boyfriend who was arrested several hours later not far from the crime scene. The woman, in speaking to reporters said, "I hope he gets what he deserves for what he's done to me and my family."
Again, I can't imagine her pain and heartache, either. But I am struck by the differences in approach to both crimes.
I'd like to think we could learn from the Amish