The News of mass murder in Amish country this past month, when a depraved man killed a number of young girls execution style in a one-room schoolhouse, filled the air waves with questions of why and how such violence could have happened, especially in rural Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania .
On a radio talk show, an expert Psychologist, known as "Doctor Helen", brought up the need for a better mental health system, a killer's maternal problems, their obsessive thinking, anger and revenge, plus the fact that twenty-four hundred men in the United States commit suicide each year. She offered few answers with little hope for success, when asked how to bring change to man's problem.
My heart goes out to the families who are suffering through this tragedy. Many of us have suffered with them in deep compassion. The support for the Amish community has been great, but they are totally sufficient in God's grace. In an interview, one Amish man expressed his love and forgiveness towards the killer, saying that prayer groups were visiting the man's wife and children for ministry.
The Amish People
The Amish are members of the Mennonite community America. They are Christians who believe they can overcome the flesh better by isolating themselves from the modern world. The teenagers are given the opportunity to leave the community for a time to experience the worldly lifestyle. Ninety percent of them choose to return to their family, the Amish life and their dedication to God.
The elders of the Amish community recognize the world, the flesh and the devil as their enemies. They recognize that sin entered this world in the Garden of Eden where God gave man a choice between the tree of life and the tree of good and evil.
A small percentage of Amish children choose the tree of good and evil. They decide to live by their own wisdom of right and wrong, and to turn their back on Amish life. They leave sometimes in fear of failure and with much anger. Their families know too well the works of the devil. .
The Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 3 that Adam blamed the woman, but Eve blamed the serpent or Satan, neither taking personal responsibility for their sin. "The devil made me do it" is the cry of someone not taking responsibility for their own actions, but the devil can't be disregarded either. He is an influential power behind the world and the flesh of man. For we are not fighting against people flesh and blood, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.1
The Amish people do not have to be convinced that the devil is on the loose in their county. They spend much time studying God's Word and greatness. They know the Scriptures well that say, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victims to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith." 2
The believer has a personal responsibility to give no place right or room to the Devil. 3 He loves to lie and deceive your mind. We war against demonic thoughts that don't agree with the truth. As you discern thoughts of pride, fear, unbelief, lust, depression or conmemnation, cast down imaginations,4 submit to God, resist the devil, 5 and put on the full armor of God. 6 That's something you have to do by faith. That is, act on what you believe! Turn your mind to God's Word, saying, "My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in me. I am not my own. I am bought with Christ's blood, therefore, I glorify God in my body, and in my spirit, which are God's." 7
When people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the devil.8 Dean Sherman with Youth With A Mission, writes: "The devil only has access to the world through people's sin and selfishness. Jesus defeated every demonic power on the cross 2,000 years ago, but Satan is still active to the exact degree people allow him to be. Sinners are not the only ones allowing him to work. Christians allow him to work when we don't deal with our wrong attitudes."
What do we hear about the man who killed these children? He dropped off his own children for school, before driving to the Amish schoolhouse. Whether he was a Christian or not, he had pent-up anger, becoming dark and agitated during the past weeks. He was angry with God over the death of his infant child--9 years earlier. He expressed guilt for molesting younger children 20 years earlier, and at the same time having thoughts and dreams of repeating it. The police believe he had every intention of molesting these Amish children, but instead, he killed the children and himself when they rushed the schoolhouse. He was a defeated man.
This man was very confused in his mind, expressing guilt for his past sins, but willing to repeat them with vengeance. He did not know the love and forgiveness of God. He had a bitter root of unbelief.9 He was solely responsible for his crime, but irresponsible as a man. Though God had given him power over sin, self and the devil through Christ, he rejected it. He gave demonic thoughts the right to rule his mind. He was selfish, unforgiving, resentful and retaliating against God, others and himself in anger, hatred and violence to a point of murder, even himself. The media has given us many facts about this man, but God's Word tell us this man gave place to the devil, allowing bitterness, wrath and anger to his thought life. 10
The Power of Forgiveness
The Amish people will never allow themselves to become victims, or to allow their lives to be governed by external circumstances, people, or events. Victims show they are powerless over the works of the Devil. Adam and Eve were the first victims by eating of the forbidden fruit, and then continuing in their victimhood by hiding from God and blame shifting. In contrast, the victor governs himself by his redemptive vision from the promises of God, which explains the power of forgiveness operating in the Amish people.
The killer of these precious children became a victim to his hurts of the past and fears of the future, which influenced his present state. He never understood the victory and vision of the redemptive revelation of Christ. Satan, the god of this evil world blinds the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.11
Jesus calls Satan, the thief, whose purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. 12 Satan is the author of victimhood and works in the lives of those who do not appropriate Christ's victory, and His vision for their life in all its fullness. The sin of one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 13 His purpose is an abundant life. He became the sacrifice [victim] for our sin, so that we can have victory over death and vision for life every day.
A Prayer For You
Heavenly Father, I thank You for giving me the way to freedom from victimhood through Jesus Christ, My Lord! The rulers of this world did not understand the wisdom of Your plan to free us from sin, self and Satan, otherwise they would have never crucified the LORD of glory. 14
I come boldly to Your gracious throne. To receive Your mercy, and Your grace to help Me during this time of need. 15 Thank You for the wonderful example of faith that the Amish people are witnessing during this very painful and tragic time.
I praise You Father that I am no longer a victim to Adam's fall in the Garden of Eden. Thank You Jesus for taking my place as the victim on the cross at Calvary, so I can experience freedom through Your blood. Thank You Holy Spirit for raising Jesus from the dead, so I can experience life in its fullness, and victory over death.
Thank you Father for reserving a place in heaven for these dear Amish children.16Thank You Jesus for going ahead of them to prepare their mansion.17 Thank you Holy Spirit for comforting their families as you have comforted me in Jesus Name.18 Amen
1. Eph 6:12
2. 1 Pet. 5:7-9a
3. Eph. 4:2-7
4. 2 cor 10:3-6
5. James 4:7
6. Eph. 6: 10-18
7. 1 Cor: 6:18-20
8. 1 John 3:8
10. Eph 4:27-32
11. 2 Cor. 4:4
12. John 10:10
13. Rom 5:17
14. 1 Cor 2:8
15. Heb 4:16
16. 2 Cor 5:8
17. John 14:1-4
18. 2 Cor 1:3-7