Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Amish show us how true compassion works

By Diane Silver

Less than a week after a gunman killed five Amish girls and wounded five others, dozens of Amish attended the funeral of the man who caused them such horrific pain.

AP reports that about half of the 75 mourners today at the funeral of Charles Carl Roberts IV. were Amish.
"It's the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed," said (Bruce) Porter, who had come to Pennsylvania to offer what help he could. He said (Robert's wife) Marie Roberts was also touched.

"She was absolutely deeply moved, by just the love shown," Porter said. (Porter is a fire department chaplain from Colorado who attended the service.)
These days it seems that all we see in the world is anger and hatred. Sometimes I give into it myself. Lately, as we struggle with war, it sometimes feels as if we are all locked in the death grip of violence and revenge.

But, what an amazing thing these members of the Amish community did today. I don't know if it's possible for someone who hasn't lived through this kind of tragedy to imagine the pain they must feel. In the midst of all that, though, these people had room in their hearts for compassion for the family of the man who hurt them so badly.

How hard it must have been for them to attend that funeral. What a gift they gave to Roberts' grieving family. And, what a loving gift their attendance gave to us all.

They showed us what real compassion looks like.

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