Created by on 6/28/2016 5:07:43 AM
By Mark Buchanan
Last Saturday, around 30 New Lifers (people from Mark Buchanan’s congregation) gathered to hear the stories of six First Nations people, four of them Christ-followers, two of them not yet. I was unprepared for the emotional weight of their stories. Most of them were tales of loss and abuse. Some of the suffering our friends have endured is almost beyond imagining, and especially so since much of it was delivered at the hands of Christian leaders.
I was even more unprepared, though, for the real story that emerged: the power of forgiveness. Each of the story-tellers, including the two who are as yet not Christ-followers, talked openly about forgiveness. One of the non-Christians admitted that he’s still not ready to forgive everyone whose hurt him, but knows one day he must. One man recounted the abuse he went through from early childhood on, and how bitter and angry, and cold he became. Then he talked about how Jesus led him to truly forgive, from his heart, and how, “I have a real smile on my face now, from deep within, not a fake smile and not the stone face I had in prison.” One lady shared about how her hunger for God sustained her in her darkest moments, and how Jesus has healed her deepest sorrows.
Many white people, many of them Christians, have said to me, “I know that Native people have suffered. But when will they get over it?”
My answer now: “Most have. When will you?” Indeed, from now on whenever I have to “get over” some pain or loss or hurt myself, I know in part what I will do: I’ll think of six people I know, overcomers all, and follow their example