Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Christ-like Faith of the Amish

What a blessing it is to see the dignity, humility and true representation of Christian living displayed by the Amish people this week, in the face of the horrible violence inflicted upon them by a suicidal man fighting the demons of the secular world which drove him to kill five innocent Amish girls in the name of so-called “revenge”.

The Amish lifestyle is probably looked on strangely by the rest of society given their rejection of most things modern including electricity and other things industrial. Their quiet lifestyle however is an aspect of living out their life following true Christian principles, oftentimes far more so than the rest of their Christian brothers and sisters (myself included). Their lives reflect true biblical principles such as: Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT)

An article about the Amish found at this link, revealed a very appropriate scripture that they tend to live by:


One scripture often quoted in Amish worship services is: "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2) They are admonished to live a life that is separate from the world."
It is interesting how God allowed the recently crazed behavior of gun-toting maniacs to also inflict harm on the Amish people, perhaps to draw the stark parallel between how the modern world reacts to such violence versus how true Christians are supposed to react when faced with similar circumstances. In such circumstances, the Bible says: And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT)

Instead of reacting with feelings of revengeful rage combined with inconsolable despair (as the rest of us generally do), the Amish’s response to the murders were deferential to the will of God, inward unity among their culture and almost instantaneous offering of forgiveness for the murderer, as well as support for the gunman’s family who themselves are also victims in this tragic affair. Listen to the incredible words of an Amish midwife who was present at the birth of two of the slain girls:

Midwife Rhita Rhoads was present for the births of two of the five girls who were killed and also speaks of forgiving the gunman. "If you have Jesus in your heart and he has forgiven you … [how] can you not forgive other people?" Rhoads said. (abcnews.com)
What a witness for Christ to the rest of the secular and Christian world! As Christians, we are many times, not a whole lot better than our secular counterparts in our inability or more accurately our unwillingness to forgive others. This unfortunate episode allows the Amish to teach us about ourselves and about the love and teachings of Christ in a real life circumstance…not simply from the reciting of a passage of scripture during a 2-hour church service on Sunday. The Amish attempt to live out what Christ teaches 7-days per week. Do we as Christians in the secular market-place do the same?

Though the Amish by and large seclude themselves from the rest of the world, in this incident, their lives and the working of God speaks out loudly and broadly to both the non-believing and complacent Christian society about how to reflect the glory of Christ in your practical daily life…even in the midst of monstrous tragedy. May God bless and continue to keep these simple humble people.

4 comments:

Rev. Lisa said...

Well written. Filled with substance and truth. What a message for us to look deep within -- loving unconditionally, accepting God's will even in the face of tragedy and forgiving those who persecute and harm us. May God's comfort and peace remain with them always. May each of us endeavor as brothers and sisters in Christ to walk upright in this way when evil knocks and seemingly destroys. May we remember to respond as the overcomers we are filled with Christ love and spirit.

Great message! Keep writing.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog about the Amish and it is so true.
In spite of the hurt and pain that they were going through they, like Jesus kept quite
and forgave. It is good to know that there are still Christians that love the Lord
and obey His word. God bless you. -- Isabel

MTR said...

I have a lot of respect for the Amish, and for many of the reasons you note here.

MTR said...

I have a lot of respect for the Amish, and for many of the reasons you note here.

A God who sends people to Hell?