Our homeschool group went on a field trip to the Town Creek Indian Mounds in North Carolina.  It was a great inside peek at how the Indians lived and survived in our area.

Town Creek Indian Mounds Photograph by Denise M. Herndon

Town Creek Indian Mounds Photograph by Denise M. Herndon

Town Creek Indian Mounds Photograph by Denise M. Herndon

But what struck me the most is when our tour guide spoke about the Green Corn Celebration. And the forgiveness of offenses that was given by the whole tribe.

The Posketv is the Creek and Seminole New Year. At this time offenses are forgiven. (except rape and murder which are banish-able offenses)  Posketv the “Ceremonial Fast,” commonly referred to as “Green Corn” in English and is the central and most festive holiday of the traditional Muscogee people. It represents not only the renewal of the annual cycle, but of the community’s social and spiritual life as a whole. 

As I listened, I thought, “We should celebrate the forgiving of people in our own lives.”  And the New Year is such an intentional time to do this. A New Year renewal, if you will.

I didn’t think I had anyone I needed to forgive.  However, I realized I did. On one of my very first professional corporate jobs, I worked for a man who held his department down with his thumb.  He especially seemed to have it out for me.  I was so naive and didn’t know how to handle myself in a professional environment.  I would get stomach aches every Sunday night before the dawn of a new work week.  It was just awful and went on for over a year.  I didn’t realize I had harbored this bitterness, still, against this man after all these years.

It wasn’t until I recently heard through the grapevine that he had died from cancer.  My reaction surprised me. I was glad.  Isn’t that just awful? I realized I had kept this resentment in my heart for almost 30 years.  And you know who was really hurt by this animosity?  Me.  The releasing of this forgiveness has healed me and helped me feel compassion for this man.  What must his life have looked like to treat others as he did?

3 points on Forgiveness-

1- Forgiveness affects us more than our offending party. And forgiving isn’t always an easy thing to do.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

2- Forgiveness requires grace. Grace is like a present, given undeserved.

Jesus is the best example of grace.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9

“…if grace is an ocean we’re all sinking…” David Crowder

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
― Nelson Mandela

3- Forgiveness is also a gift to ourselves.

So as the New Year dawns, think about those you need to forgive.  This can include children, in-laws, family, friends, business associates, etc.

And let it go!

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