Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Amish GraceCharles Roberts is angry and frustrated at himself - and at God.  One crisp October morning, he decides to do something about it.  He walks into an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania carrying a large bag of ammunition.

He wants revenge on God, so he takes hostages.  A standoff ensues when the police arrive.  A short while later, Roberts opens fire, killing five of the children and critically wounding five others before taking his own life.

This horrific event is recounted in the first few chapters of Amish Grace by Donald Kraybill.  While the tragedy is a central part of the story, it is not the main subject.  The response by the Amish community is the real story.  The community swiftly forgives the man who brutally ended the lives of their children.  They attend his funeral, mourn with his family, and set up a fund to help with expenses.  They do this while still firmly entrenched in the throes of their own grief.

Why did they forgive?  How were they able to forgive so quickly?  This book tells the story of the how and why.  It's a story filled with heartbreak and loss, but also hope and healing.  It's also the story of the Amish way of life; of their world, their values, and their incredible grace.

Amish Grace is a captivating read that allows you to examine your own feelings about mercy, forgiveness, and love in difficult circumstances.