Book Review | Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace by Terri Roberts

forgiven terri roberts

This book was incredible!  I started to read it simply because I teach on the topic and struggle of unforgiveness in our lives.  A video that I show to my students incorporates the “crazy” forgiveness reaction given to a family whose son murdered multiple children at an Amish school in Pennsylvania.  The video has interviews from a pastor in that region, first responders who struggled to understand what happened, and an Amish man who shared that forgiving the family was mandatory in his heart, for himself, but also for the family to heal.  The video’s purpose is to get the person watching it to respond or talk out the reasons they agree/disagree with the reactions of those in the video itself.  I’ve often been intrigued by this story as it is not a common scenario in our culture today, of those who have been wronged.  We see much more and hear more about the injustice, than see the love in peoples’ hearts to forgive.

Reading a first person account from someone whose child murdered other people gave a glimpse into a positive way to move forward from something incredibly tragic.  But not only is the mother’s forgiveness significant in this story, it’s the people who were most affected: the other parents whose children were murdered.

Terri doesn’t just share the events of that day, “The Happening” as the Amish refer to it, she also shares history from their family and some events she pieced together that help her cope with how her son could do something so horrible.  But the other benefit to reading this book is that she doesn’t stay in the anger or bitterness, but gives Scripture and lessons learned along the way to help others (and herself) continue to surrender the hurt to Jesus.

She is very well-spoken, and hides nothing.  It’s a refreshing book on the life of a woman whose life was changed the day her son committed an act of murder, followed by his own suicide.  But her strength, encouragement and hope speaks volumes.  Her story of forgiveness and love amidst tragedy is a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

When anyone hears of the Amish shooting at Nickel Mines, I pray that the thought brings to mind the powerful aspects of forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, showing love when it’s undeserved, and blessing others through adversity.  Please read this book if you struggle with unforgiveness.  This mother shares so much of her faith, her thankful spirit, her struggle to understand, and her will to let go through Christ.  It’s a great story, and one that I pray keeps getting passed on and on.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Publishing’s book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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