I thought this letter to the editor in today's Fort Worth Star Telegram was very humbling and right on target. It was good for me to read. I hope you gain some insight from it.
I wonder if what happened in Lancaster County, Pa., has really been noticed by the American public? Something amazing happened in that bucolic place, so shattered by the murders of its most innocent. It seems that we all could learn something from the people who live there, shunning the modern world to follow their faith.
Only hours after the murders, elders of the Amish community went to the home of the killer to meet with his wife. And what did they say to the wife of the man who had inflicted so much pain on their community? Did they place blame? Did they condemn her to hell? Did they seek revenge? No, they were there to forgive, to offer their support in her time of need and despair. They were there to make real the true message of Christ: forgiveness.
I recall this message of forgiveness from my early life in the church, but during the past 20 years this message has been lost. It's been replaced by those who seek power instead of moral authority.
You know them. They bark at you from television and radio and in the voting guides they place in your churches. They claim moral authority, but in their angry message of hate and nonforgiveness, they seek to place blame instead of promoting healing in the world. They are, without a doubt, demagogues in the public forum, but, more important, they're "demigods" in their own minds.
I wonder if the Revs. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson would have been so "Christian" as the Amish? One needs only to recall Falwell's assertion after 9-11 that God was taking revenge on America with that horrible event because of the "gay agenda" and abortion.
In rural Pennsylvania, in the light of a cool fall day, in the fullness of the harvest, and in the midst of horror, true Christianity was shown to us all. Forgiveness, love, hope and charity -- all the things I was taught about my "faith" and all the things my "religion" has forgotten.
We should all humble ourselves before this true Christianity. The Christian right needs to take note of what it really means to follow the message of Christ and, as Americans, we should all learn a great deal from this event. The Christian in me hopes so. The realist has many doubts.
Dwight G. Hartwick, Fort Worth
We can learn many spiritual lessons from these peaceful Christians who preach more with their lives than with their words. May God humble us so that we may draw insight and encouragement from their Christlike examples.