This book was a real eye opener for me. In October of 2006, a gunman entered an Amish school and took lives of innocent children and teachers, then took his own life. The true story Forgiven written by Terri Roberts, is a story that needs to be read. I remember when this happened, and I remember in the days after, the astonishment I felt when I heard that the Amish community that was devastated by this catastrophe had forgiven the man who took the lives of these innocent people. I was astonished because it seemed like such an amazing and selfless thing to do, to forgive someone who took lives that were cut short, and to embrace his family with open arms. That is forgiveness, and that is something that I strive to emulate in my every day life.
This book is written by the gunman’s mother, which is another thing that really interested me in this book. Many times, we read books about the victim’s that are written by their parents, or other loved ones, but we rarely see the perpetrators family step forward and come into the spotlight. Due to that, we often times shun the family of the murderers, because we just assume that they are bad people, that they don’t deserve our forgiveness, our love, or our faith in times like that. What we forget is that these family members aren’t to blame, and they are usually the ones who need the most love and are the ones that need to be lifted up the most.
Within the pages of this book, I learned about Charlie Roberts, the gunman, and his family. I learned that he wasn’t some crazed lunatic with a gun, but a father, a husband and a milk man. I also learned about a mother who had found faith in God, even through many difficulties in her life. Whether that be problems having children, cancer, or the unbelievable act of fury that her son thrust upon a small Amish town. I also learned how even though this woman, Terri Roberts, has seen the darkest of dark times, she still believes in God, and she still prays every day for her children, including Charlie.
This book is in no means condoning the things that Charlie did on that day, but rather this book explains how a family, or multiple families, can go forth through tragedy and come together instead of pulling apart at the seams.
This book opened up my eyes to a lot of things, especially forgiveness. It truly warmed my heart that instead of being shunned or demonized in the eyes of the Amish, this family was accepted and taken under the wings of the victims and their families. This was a sad story, but also a very heart warming one. I received this book from the Bethany House reviewer program, and I definitely think it’s something that everyone should read. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.