powerful message for the entire world, yet at that moment, it was for me.
With my husband being of Amish heritage, I related to President Faust's account of the Amish School House killings of October 2006 at a very personal level. I have a great love and respect for the Amish, their way of life, their values, and the way they completely embrace the Lord as evidenced in the way they treat others and conduct their daily lives. On several occasions, my family and I have visited the town of Sugar Creek, OH, and surrounding areas. Going about town side by side the Amish and Mennonite is a fascinating experience for me. The spirit of love, cooperation, industry, and faith permeates the area. This is due to a people who understand who they are and what they are about. They embrace and live lives centered in the Lord at every level.
Easter Sunday, I decided to use this message as the Easter Lesson for the 12 & 13 Year old Young Women I teach each Sunday.
The Young Women entered the room to see all of my authentic Amish quilts on display. (I am totally an object lesson, "create an atmosphere" teacher)
As an introduction, I spoke about the quilts, the women who made them, and the Amish custom of "on purpose" creating a flaw in each quilt. This symbolizes the need to improve and repent in each of our lives. The flaw is so small that generally only the creator of the quilt knows where to find it. Like our lives, we all think every one else has it "all together"--no flaws--just us. Yet every one has an area they feel inadequate in and has a need for improvement.(The quilts could provide many backgrounds for teaching)
I did not spend too much time on this introduction as I wanted to get to the heart of President Faust's message. It was absolutely a perfect Easter and every day message. Whatever faith you are, when you read this message, it will change your life. As a class, we studied this message in depth and discussed it's application to us at many levels.
Acts of forgiveness take a years, and in many cases, a life time for many of us. We spend so much energy nursing hurt, pain, and grudges, that we do not use our energy to love and move forward in other areas of life. In many cases, forgiving others is easier than forgiving ourselves.
The instant forgiveness of the Amish Community was, to me, a miracle that changed the world forever. Why? Most of us do not consider that sort of forgiveness on the earth at this time in history. That level of forgiveness was recorded "in Bible Times" oh so long ago, however, no-- that was now! As a world, we witnessed a miracle of perfect forgiveness.
Every sentence, every paragraph of this life-changing message is full of wisdom.
Throughout the months of teaching these delightful Young Women, I have shared with them examples of times when others have caused me great pain, harm, or hurt and the temptation is to use my energy to "lash out" and "get even" I am able to look them in the eyes and tell them of the difficulties of moving on and forgiving, yet also the beauty and peace of loving and praying for your enemies and those who harm you.
I actually had an experience while serving Stake Young Women President when a parent threatened my life at Girls Camp. Knowing I had to keep the spirit of the Lord in the Camp, I could not, for one second, consider fear or retaliation. I spent an entire night praying for this parent. After hours of this, I had such a love and empathy for this person that still exists today. (Much longer story than this Reader's Digest version)
Other times the hurts from the words, actions, choices, and misjudgements of others, even family members come and require me to move on, let go and rise above, even when I have been the one harmed, not the one who made a poor judgement or decision.
As mentioned, this can be a life long process, one that takes energy and soul searching. Moving on and forgiving is an incredibly liberating experience. Sometimes the person who harms you continues in that pattern, this I know from personal experience. In those cases, you will know when you must stay out of that person's path or reach of influence. Their choices are NOT your fault, even though you are caused great hurt or pain. Remove yourself from their path, let go of grudges and hurt, do not allow their choices to hold you hostage. Choose to use your energy to love, experience peace and move forward.
With the desire to fully digest this message, I printed a copy for daily study and reference. It is perhaps, the best message I have heard from President Faust. Even with his age and failing health, the strength and power he presented was life changing. Grateful am I for the inspiring words of President Faust on The Healing Power of Forgiveness.