truth and reconciliation

truth and reconciliation

I read a post earlier today that dives into the words Bree Newsome said as she was arrested this weekend:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

What I loved about the author’s wrestling is that she highlighted that faith isn’t always about forgiveness.  It is also about speaking truth to power:

So Bree Newsome was a reminder to me that forgiveness is not the only thing faith can look like in public. Faith in public can look like a demand – for justice, for recognition, for grace.

Completely aside from what is happening in the world, those words hit me in the core of my being.

There are some relationships in my life that trouble me.  They tear at my heart. I feel like a divided person because of them.

And I’ve been praying for a heart to forgive.  I’ve been seeking reconciliation in my own way. And it is hard. And painful.

I keep reading about how forgiveness isn’t for the other person… it is for ourselves so that we can let go of the pain and be at peace. I think that is true, which is why it is about more than simply saying, “I forgive you.”  It is about getting to the point in your soul when that is really true.

When you are on the receiving end of such a phrase, the work is done.  Or rather, maybe there wasn’t any work at all.  “I forgive you,” is a balm to ease a troubled mind. That’s it. End of story.

But, “I forgive you,” doesn’t change anything. It allows those who have hurt us to continue to do so.

Maybe that is why God’s forgiveness and grace always comes with the call for a different way. God’s forgiveness is so profound and complete because it forces us to truly face our transgressions before we hear the words of comfort.

And maybe that is part of what has been missing in my own quest for forgiveness.  I haven’t yet told the truth of what I’m feeling. I have not yet demanded to have the pain recognized.

I’m too busy trying to be nice and kind and forgiving and it feels inauthentic.

I hesitate to make that demand to be seen, to have my pain recognized, largely out of fear. Fear of shaking the waters. Fear of making things worse. Fear that things might actually change?

Fear can cause us to want to fight. Fear can cause us to run away. Fear can paralyze us.

In one relationship in particular, I feel paralyzed.  I don’t know what to do, so I do nothing.

I wonder what would happen if I began my morning prayers not with the plea that I could forgive, but by thanking God for being my light and my salvation and my strength… with the reminder that, in God, I have nothing to fear. I wonder what would happen if before I focused on reconciliation, I found the courage to speak the truth.


  • Shirley McLaughlin

    June 30, 2015 at 5:41 pm Reply

    Dear Pastor Katie,
    It is very difficult to overcome the fear when letting a friend or relative know they have hurt you. Sometimes it can change the relationship for the good or it ends the relationship. For 10 years my younger sister did not talk to me and even now she only contacts me a few times a year and I haven’t seen her for years. I still love her but the relationship has changed. Even so I find it hurts me less to address the problem.
    Today in a book I was reading- the main character made the comment – “Forgiveness is the key to our heart’s shackles.”
    I shall pray for you!
    Love, Shirley McLaughlin

  • Katie Z.

    July 8, 2015 at 9:19 am Reply

    Shirley, prayers for you and your sister as your relationship continues in a different way. And thank you for your prayers!

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