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Tuesday, December 8, 2015


After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?

On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. Forgiven by Terri Roberts with Jeanette Windle

I'm sure we all remember hearing about the Amish schoolhouse shooting in 2006. Imagine being the mother of that shooter. Or of any shooter. I know that upon hearing of a tragedy I think "What makes someone do such a thing?" Roberts still wonders that about her own son. She wracked her brain for an answer, for a reason. Was it his upbringing? Why didn't she notice that something was bothering him, that something was wrong?

After reading this book you come to the conclusion that it's not always an upbringing that causes someone to have a darkness. It's not necessarily an event that turns someone to the dark side. Sometimes it just happens. Or as Henry, one of Robert's Amish neighbors puts it, on page 54: "I think the devil used your boy." 

It's hard enough losing a child, as so many of these Amish families did that day. Roberts not only lost her child, when he took his own life, but she also has the grief of knowing he took so many innocent lives with him. I imagine that in many of these situations, a gunman's family would feel complete isolation and blame and hate. Because the Amish community was so swift in forgiving not only Charlie (the shooter) but also the whole family by default it was healing for everyone involved, including the whole United States when they saw that forgiveness.

This book gives us a look into the life of what a gunman leaves behind in his own life. A father. A mother. Brothers. Sisters. Wives. Children. His own and those of the lives he takes.

Roberts explains how the forgiveness of the Amish helped her forgive her own son. While thankfully most of us will not ever have to deal with such a horrible tragedy such as this, there will be instances in our lives that we do need to offer forgiveness.

It was a very eye-opening book.

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

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