On Forgiveness

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Lifetime Movie Network Premier of Amish Grace airing March 28th. You can read about it here. The occasion caused me to do some research about the subject of the Nickel Mines school shootings on October 2, 2006.

When I come to the place where I consider that time in my own life I realize my family and I months past the first anniversary of Justin’s death. During that deeply emotional season I recognize now that the trauma and pain of others usually sent me running from news reports and stories of tragedy.

Hurricane Katrina blew in the week after Justin’s death and I left the television off for days unable to cope with the misery of others while trying to process my own shock and giref. I imagine the Nickel Mines shootings touched me in much the same way.  It shocked and horrified me to think a place of such simplicity and community could be touched by such horror and tragedy.  I imagined the hearts of those families shattered into pieces and ached for their losses. I remember vaguely reminding myself when I heard of their extending forgiveness that their lives are so different than my own. They live in a different world, by a different set of rules and have a different sense of community. But, the question that still lingers in my mind is this: “Are They Really That Different?”
So, before I go on I want to administer a few disclaimers:

1.) While I believe the Lifetime Movie Network’s depiction of this tragedy brings to light the reality of human response to tragedy I would like to advise all who read this and the advertisement page on this blog that the depiction is based on a book called “Amish Grace” which is a researched look at the aftermath and response of the Nickel Mines school shoorting, but in the movie characters have been fictionalized and the story portrayed is fiction. Ida Graber and family are not among the victims of the Nickel Mines shooting and the Amy Roberts is not the name of the woman who was widowed when the gunman committed suicide.  In fairness to those who have objected to the creation of this film – I woud like to say that neither the book’s writers nor the Amish community endorse the film.

2.) The point of this post is forgiveness – not whether of not the ficitionalizing of such a tragic event in near history is appropriate or not. It is simply to open the dialogue about forgiveness and the truth behind it.
3.) This is not just about the Nickel Mines Schoolhouse shootings, but about how our society responded to such an overwhelming sentiment of forgiveness and release.  That the virtue of a forgiving heart was dismissed as simpleton and unrealistic.

I pray your responses will bear in mind these points of clarification. My desire is to draw out discussion not create controversy.
Imagine a world where forgiveness happened immediately and reconciliation, restoration and restitution were encouraged as a way of life. What would our world look like if our hearts were bent on forgiving even as the trauma and wound was being inflicted.

Read more about my response to the movie Amish Grace and the subject of forgiveness here.

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