Where do You See Jesus? Contrasting Responses to PA Shooting
- Friday, October 06, 2006
And that brings us to the rest of the story. The story that made me cry. The people who with broken hearts have looked instead at what God can do. I have always had respect for the commitment of the Amish people. To be honest, I have viewed their lives as being a bit odd. Now I wonder if they have it far more right than I do. I say that after reading their response to the senseless killing of these innocents in Pennsylvania. As I thought about my wonderful sons I don't know if I would have the capacity to respond like these servants of the Lord. The Dallas Morning News reported this reaction from the Amish community:
The Amish have been reaching out to the family of the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, who committed suicide during the attack. Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them.
"I hope they stay around here and they'll have a lot of friends and a lot of support," Daniel Esh, a 57-year-old Amish artist and woodworker whose three grandnephews were inside the school during the attack, said of the Robertses. Huntington, the authority on the Amish, predicted they will be will be very supportive of the killer and his wife, "because judgment is in God's hands."
Could I do that? Would I even consider such a response? Later in the story I read this:
Enos Miller, the grandfather of the two Miller sisters, was with both of the girls when they died. He was out walking near the schoolhouse before dawn Wednesday, he said he couldn't sleep, when he was asked by a reporter for WGAL-TV whether he had forgiven the gunman. "In my heart, yes," he said, explaining it was "through God's help."
I have a hard time forgiving someone who says something negative about me. I am humbled by this display of Amish faith. Another story in the Dallas Morning News had this amazing demonstration of grace:
Donors from around the world are pledging money to help the families of the five dead and the five wounded in amounts ranging from $1 to $500,000. The families could face steep medical bills. Though the Amish generally do not seek help from outside their community, Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster services, an agency managing the donations, quoted an Amish bishop as saying: "We are not asking for funds. In fact, it's wrong for us to ask. But we will accept them with humility." At the behest of Amish leaders, a fund has also been set up for the killer's widow and three children.
Are you kidding me? Thinking of the financial needs of the killer's family? Incredible. No, make that supernatural. That is beyond the scope of human response. And then the final story that brought tears to my eyes this morning. This report comes from the New York Post:
Staring down the barrel of Charles Carl Roberts' gun, 13-year-old Marian Fisher and her 11-year-old sister, Barbie, bravely pleaded with the madman to shoot them and spare the eight other girls he was holding hostage. "Marian said, 'Shoot me first,' and Barbie said, 'Shoot me second,' " said midwife Rita Rhoads, who had helped deliver several of the victims. "They were really trying to save the younger girls. It is a real reflection of their faith."
So we have news stories about two very different groups - the group from Kansas and the Amish faithful from Pennsylvania. You tell me... where do you see Jesus?
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring ’em Back Alive – A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com
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