Forgiveness is one of the most important principles in the Amish community. According to a passage in the Bible an individual cannot be forgiven by God unless they forgive the trespasses of other individuals. The Amish have taken this and other passages in the Bible and adapted them into the foundation of their moral code.
Turning the Other Cheek
Many members of the Amish community believe that they have a moral obligation to forgive people who have hurt them. Many Amish believe that God's judgement is absolute. Since God is the only means of real justice, human concepts of justice are meaningless. Furthermore, Amish individuals believe in the strength of their communities, so by forgiving others they are helping the community.
Setting an Example
Part of the Amish belief in forgiveness stems from a belief in living by the example set by Jesus. Since Jesus preached and practiced forgiveness, members of the Amish community believe they have to forgive others unconditionally as well. Many view this as a kind of personal test. Furthermore, Amish individuals believe they are setting their own example by forgiving others and preventing any cycles of revenge.
Although the Amish emphasize forgiveness, some actions are considered unpardonable and result in excommunication from the Amish community. Members of the Amish community are usually reluctant to rely on outside help when problems arise and try to maintain order by removing people who transgress Amish doctrine from the community. Other members of the community are ordered to avoid the transgressor.
Even in situations where a member of the Amish community has been shunned or excommunicated from their group, they will be accepted back into the community as long as they repent. In some groups, other members of the community will try to work with the transgressor in order to get them to admit that they've sinned. Once they acknowledge the sin, the rest of the community will forgive the individual.
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