NEARLY seven years ago, five little Amish girls were killed by a guman who raided their school.
A brief statement by the grandfather of two of the slain girls soon after the shooting was astounding.
Asked if he felt any anger, the grandfather replied: “No’’.
Asked if he had forgiven the gunman himself, he said: “Yes, in my heart. We must not think evil of this man.’’
How was it possible for a grieving grandfather to think, much less say those words?
They asked him that too. He simply said: “With God’s help’’.
To the astonishment of most of the world, many Amish attended the funeral of the killer, who turned his gun on himself after the senseless slaughter of the schoolgirls in a rural American schoolhouse.
At the behest of Amish leaders, a fund was also set up for the gunman’s widow and three children.
It was like a light shining in the darkness.
Forgiveness does not always seem deserved, especially when children are slaughtered. Who would not be angry at such an horrific act?
But the Amish refused to hate what had deeply hurt them.
It was an extraordinary response and a prime example of the spiritual demand to turn the other cheek when struck. And not to return evil for evil.
The families most affected by this appalling tragedy responded in a way that might seem foreign to most of us. Perhaps almost beyond comprehension in a world where religious-based revenge is commonplace.