Amish Grace and Forgiveness

Amish Girls Shot in an Amish School

Following the tragic Amish school shooting of 10 young schoolgirls in a one-room Amish school in October 2006, reporters from throughout the world invaded Lancaster County, PA to cover the story. (You can read the full story of the Amish school shooting here.)  However, in the hours and days following the shooting a different, an unexpected story developed.

Amish Forgiveness in Response to School Shooting

In the midst of their grief over this shocking loss, the Amish community didn’t cast blame, they didn’t point fingers, they didn’t hold a press conference with attorneys at their sides. Instead, they reached out with grace and compassion toward the killer’s family.

The afternoon of the shooting an Amish grandfather of one of the girls who was killed expressed forgiveness toward the killer, Charles Roberts. That same day Amish neighbors visited the Roberts family to comfort them in their sorrow and pain.

Later that week the Roberts family was invited to the funeral of one of the Amish girls who had been killed. And Amish mourners outnumbered the non-Amish at Charles Roberts’ funeral.

It’s ironic that the killer was tormented for nine years by the pre-mature death of his young daughter. He never forgave God for her death. Yet, after he cold-bloodedly shot 10 innocent Amish school girls, the Amish almost immediately forgave him and showed compassion toward his family.

In a world at war and in a society that often points fingers and blames others, this reaction was unheard of. Many reporters and interested followers of the story asked, “How could they forgive such a terrible, unprovoked act of violence against innocent lives?”

What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?

The Amish culture closely follows the teachings of Jesus, who taught his followers to forgive one another, to place the needs of others before themselves, and to rest in the knowledge that God is still in control and can bring good out of any situation. Love and compassion toward others is to be life’s theme. Vengeance and revenge is to be left to God.

Read through some of the passages regarding Biblical forgiveness and love toward others and you’ll better understand how the Amish were able to forgive.

All of Lancaster County mourns the loss of these young girls and the terrible affect this has had on so many lives. We request your prayers for the families of the children who died, as well as those children and adults who have lived through this terrible ordeal. We also ask your prayers for the wife and three young children of the man who committed this senseless act. They, too, will have to live with this for the rest of their lives.

You can learn more about the Amish and their culture by clicking on the links in the sidebar.


  1. Liau Nai Fwei says:

    I have read about the forgiveness of Amish community through a China reporter. He wrote an article on how astonishing it was to a Chinese. It isn’t uncommon for Chinese to receive hate letters “I will kill your whole clan” when their behaviour is disapproved by other strangers. So the message of forgiveness which was never expected was thrown in to China common people who read that article like a bomb. And years later, the same story was quoted by China believers when they became Christians. In short, the snow ball rolled on. When the word of Christ “Father, forgive them…” is put into practice, it speaks so loud that the world may hear.
    Last but not least, let me share about news from Syria church leaders. When faced massacre, they sent out a message “Please let the world know, for us, we only bless, but do not curse (the murderers). Pray for us.”
    Pray for the families, who need the courage and means to live on.

  2. A couple of years after the Amish School House Execution, I was in Lancaster with a tour group. we already knew NEVER take pictures of the Amish and we obeyed the request, unfortunately many other tourists had no respect for the Amish and were snapping pictures of them like these tourists were the “paparazzi”. We were at an Amish mall/shopping center where the stores were owned by non-Amish but a large number of Amish women had sought employment there as a way to raise money to pay the hospital and funeral expenses, and also raise the necessary money that would be needed to pay for the few girls who survived but were brain damaged, paralyzed, and would require medical care the rest of their lives. These women were crying, trying to hide themselves from all the crazy people who refused to stop taking their pictures.

    Let me put this simply and in caps incase anyone has bad eyesight:


    Don’t you think we “Englishers” have destroyed these people who go out of their way to not even bother us but yet, we have to further terrorize, humiliate, traumatize, and stalk these people like we are the “paparazzi”?


    Trust me! I can think of a lot better things to take pictures of than “THE AMISH”.

    These peoples lives have been negatively altered for ever and they can NEVER recover to get back what they had before the schoolhouse executions. Their children, their peace, their joy, their culture, their way of life, their community, and much much more is either altered, damaged, or gone FOR EVER. If not taking their picture can bless them with what little peace they can get that they have not had in almost 9 years:


    Go find something else to take a picture of.

    • Amen.

    • I agree with this 100%

      Just leave the Amish alone. I used to live in an area that was heavy with Amish people. They are kind and simple folk that do not bother anyone… WHY do people have to be so inconsiderate and disrespectful ?

      People like that are the ones who give the “Englishers” a bad name and reputation to the Amish. This level of blatant disrespect, disregard and inconsiderate actions just saddens and sickens me.

  3. Ilona abbott says:

    I’ve recently come upon this website n came to the section on the amish shooting. I do remember it but with all violence I see on the news, as in this tragidy, I did not follow it since I knew it would b upsetting. I just now read the article. How terribly awful for the family’s n victims! And for the amish to forgive as the bible says- completely unheard of to wordly people. Of all the Christians I have herd speak of God or the bible, different religions,, in my opinion the amish are the true Christians. I admire them for they’re beliefs and way of life.

  4. I watched the movie Amazing Grace tonight and it has left an everlasting impression! I strive daily to be a good person and Try not to hold onto Hatred. After watching what happen in the community and what examples of Christ they shown is something I will forever hold onto and make my inspiration to live by no matter what happens in this lifetime

  5. They follow what Christ teaches it says, what an example to me and others as to how we should always be. God smiled when he saw this example of forgiveness and compassion.

  6. Marco A Cuando says:

    Wow a shocking story, but true. I admire the way the Amish people forgave the murderer.
    This is really Christ example of Forgiveness and Compassion. God bless this beautiful people.

  7. Cecil K says:

    I very much appreciate reading this article about this tragedy in the Amish community and how they choose to rise above bitterness and chose forgiveness and compassion.

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