Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nickel Mines miracle

I have been struggling with the horror of what happened at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

I am troubled by all violence, even when it is necessary, as in some wars or in the actions of a police officer protecting the public.

There is something darker, more evil, however, when the violence has no justification, and even darker yet when the victims are children.

This incident is hitting home even more, though, because of who the victims are.

The Amish have always seemed to me a people set apart.

I could not be one. I think they have some things wrong. But they are true to their beliefs in a way that humbles those of us who have sometimes compromised our Christian beliefs as we try to fit into the world.

One essential part of Christianity the Amish have tapped into is the command to "Love thy neighbor."

That is part of the horror of this crime. It was done by a neighbor, someone who knew them well.

Then again, as GKC observed, "The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."

The story of the man who did this is slowly unfolding. He was clearly a sick man, the evil in him festering over many years, ("Evil comes at leisure like the disease.")

But then, we get the Amish reaction of love.

They have not only forgiven the killer, they have reached out to his family, offering them comfort in the midst of their own grief, and even inviting them to at least one of the funerals.

Chesterton once observed, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."

Maybe he never met the Amish.

1 comment:

Paul Pennyfeather said...

Wonderful Post, Lee. The horror of this tragedy is lightened ever-so-slightly by the inspiring outreach of the Amish community.

I honestly don't know if I could be that forgiving were it my child.