As everyone knows by now, last week a gunman took over an Amish school and killed five girls, ages 7 to 13. Before being shot, thirteen year old Marian Fisher and her eleven year old sister, Barbie, asked if the killer would take their lives instead of the others. In an almost superhuman expression of Christian love, the Amish visited the wife of the murderer and offered their forgiveness for the killer and compassion for his family. About half of those who showed up to offer comfort at the killer’s funeral were Amish. They have also asked that funds be set up to help the killer’s family just as funds have been set up to help the families of the victims.
These are Christians who take the Bible quite literally when it records Jesus as saying, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
According to the Gospels, Jesus then practiced what he preached when on the cross he prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”