By Equality Rider Christian Parks
There was a time in my life when my identity was not widely accepted, especially in the Church setting. I remember times when people would look at me and deduce that I was demon possessed by the way I walked and talked. There must have been no other explanation in their heads; so, they diagnosed me as being controlled by some demonic force. This was a very farfetched and spiritually damaging way to go about the situation, but people will be people. I know that, in their hearts, pastors in my youth group and the church wanted the best for me, and they must have seen this act and this power as a lifesaving tactic. They wanted the best for me but did not recognize the pain that was caused. I know many of us have stories like this – stories that allows our wounds to be visible, our pain to be apparent, and our anger to rise up.
So now, I come to this time and place in my life faced with a hard question: Should I forgive? I could choose to act like the damage was never done. At the same time, I refuse to give up my pain, to act as if nothing happened.
Forgiveness, as I have learned and experienced it, is an action and a state of mind that returns the power that was stripped away. By forgiving my church and the people in it, I am free to reclaim G-d and figure out what that being means to me. This forgiving nature is what I would calling the beginning to learning the Art of Resistance, which, as Rev. Dr. Cindi Love declared to the congregation of All God’s Children MCC in Minneapolis, is love. I believe that to forgive is to love and to love is to begin to fight the powers of injustice in the world.
This love and resistance that I speak of compels me to break the rules set up by society and its view of what is right and wrong. This calls for me to cross roads into places that are and may seem hostile and unloving. I am charged to walk in the power of this love to seek out that person that has created a wound in my life and invite them to my table to eat with me. It teaches me that I am merely human. I learn that love keeps no records of wrongs but opens the door for reconciliation and a renewed relationship. This love allows me to be free in community and be exactly as who the Creator has created me to be. Do you know of this love that I am speaking of?
About the Blogger:
Christian Parks is 20 years old with a heart for people and a passion for spirituality.