Sunday, October 15, 2006

Forgiveness and Love

Gattina wrote a comment on my entry "Love Others..." a few days ago. She said,

I really admire these people having such a faith in god. But I think even people without any believe also could do that. In my opinion you don't have to be a christian and believe in god to be a good and selfishless human. It depends on your character. I think nobody would know himself enough to know the way he would react in such a situation.

Gattina—I think you are right, in some ways.

I think it is entirely possible for people who don’t necessarily believe in God to be good, generous, compassionate, and forgiving. And it is true that no one knows how he would react in a situation like this. But I believe the circumstances here are unusual—the Amish families' forgiveness and the older girl’s self-sacrifice, both. In both, I see great acts of love, beyond what the usual person could give.

I believe average people, believers or not, would have a very difficult time forgiving a man who murdered their children. Believers and nonbelievers both struggle with the need to forgive.

We have a fairly easy time forgiving people when they cheat us in games, when they cut in front of us in traffic, if they talk behind our backs, and maybe even if they are unfaithful in marriage. But the death of a child is one of the very hardest things to deal with—we are supposed to die before our children do. We are not supposed to have to outlive them, especially because of murder. When they forgave Charles Carl Roberts, they sacrificed their self-serving desire to lash out at his family, to hate him. That's what most people would have done.

And the thirteen-year-old girl who offered herself, in hopes that the younger girls might be saved—I believe such acts of selfless sacrifice come from the heart of God. It reminds me of the self-sacrifice of the character Sydney Carton in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, in exchange for the life of Charles Darnay, for the love of his family. It reminds me of God’s sacrifice of Jesus, in exchange for our deserved punishment, for love of us.

First John 3:20 says, “For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” And verse 23 says, “this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." Chapter 4, verse 10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” And verse 12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Unconditional, sacrificial love is powerful. To be able to love like that takes great faith in God and comprehension of his love. We are called to love the way God does—to love people regardless of the return, regardless of how we are treated.

13 comments:

Jen said...

well written and I agree it would be hard

Moobear said...

I think you said it well. The part I do not understand about all this is that the Amish do believe in God, but they do not believe in Jesus; that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose on the third day and through him we are saved. Therefore, according to the Bible you do not get saved or get to heaven through good works and deeds although they are well accepted, but only through the faith and belief in our saviour, Jesus Christ who died for us and resurrected on the 3rd day. The Amish stopped before they finished imo.

God Bless!

Judy Callarman said...

Moobear--I didn't know that the Amish don't believe in Jesus!

These particular Amish people seem to understand the heart of God, who is the only wellspring of love, it seems to me.

Judy Callarman said...

Moobear--
I Googled "Amish beliefs," and found this link to a Canadian religious tolerance informational group: http://www.religioustolerance.org/amish3.htm
And it sounds like they do believe in Christ, from the information at this site. What do you think?

Moobear said...

Hi Judy
Thanks for the comment on my site and I would appreciate your prayers. My son who studies and is well versed in religions and beliefs, also a Christian and lives by the King James Version of the Bible, and I were discussing this week before last and I had been doing some reading on it myself. I found this site to be very informative along with others, but will share this one with you and I will read your linked site as well.
http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/amish_heresy.htm
If I am not mistaken, I want to think you are in Beaumont. If so, I have an ex friend who lives there with serious problems. If you are familiar with the Ogden St. area, that is where she lives. She needs prayer and help for her mental condition if you do any visitation to non church members.

God Bless!

Gattina said...

I am sorry to disagree with Moo. The Amish are Christians and therefore believe in Jesus. Otherwise they would be Jews, which is the only religion which has no Jesus or Mohamed. In Wikipedia you can read all about the Amish and it's very interesting. They still speak an old German and :"Typically, a Deacon will ladle water from a bucket into the Bishop's hand, and the Bishop will sprinkle the head three times, in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, " text I copied from the christianing ceremony. I started reading this morning and couldn't stop !

Moobear said...

I do not know any Amish folks nor do I know other than what I read, which seems to only add to the confusion, so after many many hours of reading, I still do NOT know for sure just what the Amishs' true belief is. I did not mean to imply what I thought was right. I am just a peon here trying hard to live a Christian life and not impose my beliefs on anyone. Please don't take my comment too seriously as I oft speak out of turn and I do not wish to judge anyone.
May God Bless you all!


God Bless!

Judy Callarman said...

Moobear and Gattina-- I don't think there's any offense taken by anyone here. I think we are all just trying to figure it out and live life, like you said, Moobear! I don't want to appear judgmental, either; even though I do want to share my beliefs with others, I don't want to force them on anybody. I think it is valuable and important to discuss these things, with a view to try to understand them (not to just argue for the sake of argument)!

I will read the link you sent, Moobear, and respond. Also, I'll look up the Amish in Wikipedia. Gattina, your quotation from the christening ceremony is very interesting. I don't know any Amish people, either.

Moobear, I will pray for the lady you mentioned. I will add her to the "Internet Requests" section of my church's prayer list. I don't live in the Beaumont area, but closer to Fort Worth-Dallas.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like how C.S. Lewis dealt with the question of how we compare each other (Christian to secular, Christian to Christian)...

in essence, he noted it can't be done... people are born with different personalities, into different environments... the real test is how we compare to ourselves before and after Christ in our lives...

so, I imagine, it would transfer to this question of who is capable of forgiving, and how much...

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