Did y'all hear the story a few years ago about the Amish school shooting at Nickel Mines? It made the news, of course. I ask because I'm one of those homebodies who often doesn't have a clue what's going on in the world around me and am hopeful there are others out there who can relate. I rely on my husband to keep me up-to-date with current events. He reads news and goes to an office where people chat about such things. I, on the other hand, am up to my eyeballs in dirty diapers, PBS Kids, laundry, dishes, spelling, and storybooks. Not complaining!! Just sayin'.
Don't ask me what's playing at the movies. 'Cause you'll get nothing more than a blank stare. Movies? Who goes to the movies anymore?? Don't ask me what I think about current Nasdaq trends. 'Cause...ummmm...well, I never was interested in that stuff. The point is, I didn't know about the shooting. My hubby had to fill me in. It's a very compelling story, to say the least. Perhaps you missed it, too. Click here if you'd like to read the actual events as told by the media (though the very first link I gave is from Wikipedia and has bunches more details).
The reason I bring it up is that Lifetime Movie Network recently contacted me to tell me about the premier of a movie starring Kimberly Williams-Paisley (of the classic 90s film Father of the Bride). Here's an aside you didn't ask for: I used to teach school with the mom of Kimberly's good friend and roommate from college. Isn't that cool?!
Anyone want to touch me?
Yeah, I'm pretty much awesome.
Okay. Back to the show. Literally. The movie, which is based on a book about the true events of the shooting, mainly focuses on the fictional mother of one of the victims, as she comes to terms with the forgiveness she is expected to give to the shooter and his family. The movie's central theme is the struggle she faces between her emotional pain and her religious convictions/beliefs. If you know the actual story, the Amish community sent words of forgiveness immediately upon hearing what had happened to their daughters. It shocked the country--this immediate, unconditional forgiveness. And yet, in the movie, the fictional mother disagrees with this decision, even going so far as to consider leaving the faith.
I don't know "where" the movie may take the viewer or what religious questions it seeks to ask and answer, nor do I know the opinion(s) of the film's creator, but it could be interesting. Certainly something to stir up discussions about forgiveness and why and how God commands us to forgive.
The Amish actually believe that if they DON'T forgive others, then God WON'T forgive them of their sins, and therefore, their salvation will be lost. This is why the swift and immediate forgiveness of others, even one who shoots and kills their innocent daughters. However, this is an unbiblical view of forgiveness and of the saving grace of Jesus. First of all, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have already been forgiven of all their sins--past, present, and future. Christ's death on the cross covered all our sins. Whether or not we ever again forgive another person or ask forgiveness of God has nothing to do with our actual salvation. But Jesus explains in John 13:10 that though the disciples bodies are clean (they have been saved from their sins), their feet are still dirty from walking around in the world (they still sin). God wants to wash our feet daily so that we can be in a right relationship with Him. This is why we seek forgiveness daily for the wrongs we commit all day long. Not so we'll be saved...again! We already ARE saved. But so that things will be right with our Lord. In the same way, we should forgive others. This is a command. When we don't forgive others, we are sinning and therefore, cannot expect God to forgive us for our daily sins. This does not mean, however, that we are no longer saved, as the Amish believe. It's just that our hearts cannot be right before God when we harbor an unforgiving heart toward others.
Being in fellowship with the Lord is the whole point. He made us, loves us, and died to save us. Being close to Him is how we experience His love on a daily basis, how we find meaning in our lives, and how we are able to forgive those who do unspeakable wrongs to us.
That said, I'm planning to watch the movie Amish Grace, which airs this Sunday, March 28, 2010, on Lifetime Movie Network at 8 PM/EST and 5 PM/PST. I'd love for you to watch as well and then come back here to discuss your thoughts and reactions, especially in light of what I've shared. Check out the trailer below:
"The peaceful Amish community of Nickel Mines is forever changed when a gunman senselessly takes the lives of five girls in a schoolhouse shooting before taking his own life.
What transpires afterward takes the community by storm, as the media descend on the town and criticize its Amish leaders for their notion of unconditional forgiveness of the shooter and their outreach of support to his widow, Amy Roberts (Tammy Blanchard). Devastated by her daughter’s death, Ida Graber (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) finds herself struggling with her community’s belief in the transcending power of forgiveness. Deeply conflicted and unable to forgive the gunman and his family, Ida is tempted to leave the only life she’s ever known before re-embracing her faith."
Now go set your DVRs.