Lessons from the Amish

Posted Oct. 13, 2006

On Oct. 3, Charles Carl Roberts IV invaded an Amish schoolhouse and heartlessly shot twelve school girls, killing three, before committing suicide.

This was the third and deadliest school shooting in the past week, and it shook the nation as well as the editorial board here on Campus Times.

Because the incident was so ugly and devastating, we at the Campus Times find it humbling that the Amish community was so quick to forgive the departed Roberts as well as his family.

School shootings are upsetting and heart-wrenching events that Americans seem to know all too well.

 We can all remember back a few years ago to the Columbine shootings where the nation mourned the deaths of 12 innocent people who suffered at the hands of two disgruntled students.

What we don’t remember is turning our cheeks and forgiving these students.

We don’t remember this because it didn’t happen.

Forgiveness is praised throughout many religions as a great act of faith, but following through with this grand gesture is many times the hardest thing to do.

Forgiveness is a powerful expression of one’s true humanity and understanding.

It is the most difficult thing to do because it involves going against natural human inclinations that we all feel as human beings.

Pulling in the reins is difficult and painful, but if done correctly it can have a lasting impact on ones own life and the life of others.

Last week the Amish community of Lancaster County, Penn., gave everyone in America a reason to step back and examine their own actions and beliefs.

Sometimes it’s easy to say you will forgive, but when faced with tragedy that feeling is waning.

Revenge and punishment are common reactions that come to mind when our society deals with disaster, but when more than half of the attendees at Roberts’s funeral were Amish, this norm got flipped around.

To think that about half of the estimated 75 mourners at Roberts’ burial were Amish is to realize that although the Old Order Amish live in a world of the past, avoiding the use of cars, electricity and computers, they far surpass our modern society in progressive and forward ways of looking at life and death.

Here at the Campus Times we praise the Amish community of Lancaster County, Penn., for reminding us what it means to truly have forgiveness.

This is a quality that the Amish hold in high regard and it goes along with their strict religious beliefs.

Like the Church of the Brethren, whose members founded the University of La Verne, the Old Order Amish are Anabaptist. They strongly believe in practicing non-violence.

Even so, forgiveness should be a human quality, not one that must be overseen by religion.

As members of the human race we should all take a clue from their actions.

We should consider how forgiveness could impact our own lives.

Here the Amish community has taught all of us a human lesson and that is to turn the other cheek.

Even when faced with devastating events, it is important to remember that without being able to forgive others for their unfortunate actions, we are all just animals.

Forgiveness is what sets us apart.

It is what makes us human and it is something that we should be proud of.

Their religious beliefs have given them the ability to forgive a man who ruthlessly opened fire on a dozen girls in their local schoolhouse.

This was a devastating blow to their community and yet they are resilient and have showed the nation the true power of mercy.

Whether you forgive people because of your religious convictions or whether you do it because of personal morals, practicing forgiveness is what builds peace in society and that is something that we all should want.

In these troubled times of war and confusion, when everyday more news of violence and corruption fills our “hearts and minds,” we should take notice of those who set an example and choose to let down their egos in order to achieve a greater good.

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