I'm taking a break from NaNo posting to talk a little bit about some serious issues.
I read recently about a man who sexually abused his little girls repeatedly. His wife knew about the abuse, his church knew about the abuse, and he was told to stop it, yet he continued.
I read about another man who plotted to kill his wife. They had several young children together but he'd already left her three times before for other women. His girlfriend (one of many) finally murdered his wife while she slept. The man, wanting an alibi, left the house so his children would discover the grisly murder scene--their mother in a pool of blood. The son who found his mother's body was under ten years of age.
I read letters to a son from his mother. The son had moved out of the house and the parents were heartbroken. The family sent letter after letter begging him to come home. If he would only give up his wicked lifestyle, they had plenty of room for him at home. The letters are heartbreaking, but the son stayed away. He knew he couldn't go home because his "sinful" lifestyle was simply this: he wanted to stop being Amish and he wanted to be a born-again Christian.
All of these scenarios are true stories, and all of them happened to the Amish. I could tell you many, many more. I love the Amish, as a group of people (and my in-laws) they have taken some good Biblical principles and managed to live a gracious life. But if you believe that there is nothing wrong with this group of people, then you are living in a fool's paradise.
Like all groups, there is sin, and the devastating effects of sin, among the Amish. Does that surprise you? You may be wondering, if they're Christians, why do these things happen? Well, why does it happen among our own English churches? Because, like the English, the Amish are not immune to the powers of the Prince of Darkness any more than we are. And more importantly, in many Amish communities, very little of the plan of salvation is preached!
Lifestyle is preached. Tradition is preached. Adherence to rules is preached. But Jesus Christ's sacrifice for sin? Their sin? Many know nothing or little about that. They call themselves a Christian group, and yet we know they have no power to change their own hearts. Only Christ can remove their sin.
Wearing a bonnet and driving a buggy does not guarantee salvation. Having piety and charity and hard work ethics do not guarantee salvation. Showing your good side and being gentle do not guarantee salvation. And being trapped in a world that allows no growth, either spiritually or personally, is not a pleasant and happy lifestyle and does not guarantee salvation.
I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of the Amish world; I've not lived it, and if you've not lived it either, don't pretend you know how "perfect" it is! But I'm no longer naive to the inherent faults of this lifestyle. God did not intend for the sacrifice of His Son to mean so little.
If you love the Amish...if you adore their "simple" lifestyle (that one makes me laugh--try living like a pioneer for a while and come back and tell me it is simple--those women, children, and men work hard for that simple life)...if you want to see this lovely, hard-working group of people in heaven someday, then get on your knees and pray for them! Don't just admire them from afar. Admiration is a poor substitute for salvation.
I challenge those of you who love the Amish to put feet and hands to that admiration! Get involved in the Mission to Amish People ministry. Take time to get to know your Amish neighbors. Witness to them in a loving and personal way. Wrap your heart and your soul around this people and pray for God to open their spiritual eyes.
This is a mission field that is ripe for the harvest, but if we ignore their souls because we admire their lifestyle, we do them more harm than good.
Contact me if you'd like more information about how you can help. There are ministry opportunities galore for those who have a willing heart and open hand. The fields are ripe, but the laborers are few. Reach out and show true Christian love and grace to the Amish.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-38 NIV