2010-01-13 - Many Sins Forgiven
Originally Published 2006-10-05
Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much . But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (NIV)
On Monday of this week, a man walked into an Amish schoolhouse and, in the end, shot ten young girls at close range with a shotgun. The shooter killed himself at the scene as well. Three of the girls died at the school, and two others died the following day. Five girls are still alive in trauma centers. As a parent, the act is horrific. To the Amish community, a group that avoids violence, it must be even more stunning.
I was humbled by what I read today.
The grandfather of two sisters who were victims of the attack told a group of his younger relatives, "We must not think evil of this man." He said that he had forgiven the attacker in his heart. I pray the power of that statement rocks the world. The heart that can forgive the killer of his granddaughters is a heart that teaches by the act of forgiveness.
A growing Christian learns a little more each day the depravity of his own heart and his dependence on the Lord. We are all capable of tremendous acts of kindness, and terrible acts as well. In moments of blind rage, how many friends and family members have been maimed or killed? In moments of extreme crisis, how many have found the courage to do what had to be done to save someone else - perhaps even at the cost of his own life? While the courage and ability to sacrifice must not be put aside, we must never believe that we are beyond reproach. If we are capable of that level of perfection, then Jesus Christ came and died needlessly. In truth, we are fallible, mortal flesh and blood. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
We are Christians, followers of Christ. We have accepted the fact that we are sinners who need God's grace and mercy. Do we understand that we need it for more than just getting to Heaven? We need it day-by-day and minute-by-minute. I believe this grandfather has learned this lesson well. This does not mean that he does not grieve. Still he understands his own need and the forgiveness he has been shown, and can forgive those who trespass against him. And by that act for forgiveness, he is teaching the world about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for everyone involved from the victims and their families and friends who have suffered a terrible loss, to the family of the man who obviously needed help and chose not to get that help - they have no father and husband any more, to the doctors and nurses treating the girls and the hearts of the nation and the world to be shaken to understand the power of the forgiveness of one man, and a small community that has been grievously wronged.
Jesus forgave us so very much. This grandfather begins to show us how much. Selah.
Grace & Peace,