Colorado shootings force question of forgiveness

Colorado shootings force question of forgiveness December 10, 2007

Two terrible shootings in Colorado occurred within 12 hours of each other.

The first occurred at a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) training center. A man shot four people — two have died. YWAM has a great reputation. Thousands of missionaries have been sent out by YWAM and millions of lives around the world have been touched by the selfless service of these youth. Why these kids?

The second shooting occurred at New Life Christian Church in Colorado Springs. New Life has the state’s largest auditorium and once was headed by Ted Haggart, the disgraced pastor who also led the National Association of Evangelicals. Two died here being shot in the parking lot after the morning service.

Targeting people of faith with weapons may be a logical step of our coarse culture. Evangelicals are targeted by the press, mocked on television, derided by secularists and pressed on every side. It’s no wonder that some may take up arms to press their hate toward those who first calling is love. The attack may even come from within, as we are blamed for society’s ills.

But I was struck by the statement by the Denver director of YWAM, Peter Warren:

“Our belief is that only God is the judge and our place is to forgive and that’s a difficult thing to do, but really, I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Here is a man with 140 motivated, dedicated kids in his care who only want to serve — who are innocent in the purest of ways — and two of them are senselessly killed. And the first reaction is not anger. It’s not revenge. It’s not for justice. It’s for forgiveness.

I was reminded at how petty I can be and how I hold on to unforgiveness at work and in relationships and against the world around me.

What do you think? Was his forgivenss to quick, or is a model of Christ, a Red Letter reaction to a world gone crazy?

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
— Jesus
Please, share with a friend if you feel moved.
Read all past issues at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidrupert
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