Think No Evil: A Book Review on the Subject of Forgiveness

Have you ever read a book in which you thought, “That was a good book!” and yet the subject matter was so sobering

that you felt funny thinking that? That is my reaction to Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler and Shawn Smucker. This book is well worth reading, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

October 2, 2006 is a date that will be etched into the minds of the Amish living in Nickel Mines and the larger community of “English” that surrounds it. For it was on that day that a lone gunman, someone that a good number of them knew, sent five girls into eternity, five others into life-threatening injuries and then shot himself at an Amish schoolhouse. Blasting away at ten young to little girls and then turning the weapon on himself, Charles Roberts victimized those girls, their families, his own family, the Amish as a whole community, emergency responders and so many more.

The tragedy got our attention but what happened next gripped the nation. The Amish immediately began the process of forgiveness. This book tells the story of what happened, some of the background of what occurred and then explains the unexplainable: how grief-stricken people who had their daughters killed or seriously injured by a mad-man could forgive the assailant and reach beyond their own pain to see and desire to help the Roberts’ family in their grief too. This is their story as told by someone who was once numbered among them, having been raised in an Amish household.

Something I didn’t expect from this book was some good, practical counsel on forgiveness. Jonas Beiler’s life had its share of tragedies and trials. He writes what he learned and what helped him as well as his understanding of Amish upbringing to help us all to forgive even though we cannot forget.

If you are struggling with forgiveness, this book is for you. We have all heard that we should forgive even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. This book gives a modern example to add to God’s in the Amish of Nickel Mines. If they could forgive such evil, what’s holding you or me back from forgiving that one person against whom we still hold ill-feeling?

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