Learning the importance of forgiveness
You are stuck in one spot, unable to move forward but too stubborn, or upset, to step back. Someone messed up, perhaps for the Nth time. A situation got out of hand and things may not be looking up any time soon. You do not want to forgive that person, nor the circumstances that led to your current predicament.
Mark Holliday, our speaker at Faith Christian High School's annual retreat, Sky Mountain, spoke about forgiveness, one of the key topics at the three-day event. Too often, we harbor resentments up to the point where they become a dam. This dam can affect our entire lives. It can stop the flow of our happiness, our contentment, our relationships and even the way we respond to life. Where can we go if we haven't forgiven? We are stuck in a perpetual cycle of misery.
As students listened to the message delivered by the speaker, we realized the importance of forgiving. Meagan Maher, a junior at FCHS, put it simply: "Rather than hold a grudge, forgive. When you forgive, it just makes you feel happy."
After chapel, which was held twice a day, students were able to discuss what they had learned, as well as build on other important lessons. One of these was learning to come together as a school. For some, it was a time to forgive old grudges and create new bonds.
Cody Warta, also an 11th-grader, saw the significant change within the school. "I believe this year was one of the most incredible and empowering retreats in Sky Mountain's history," he noted. "As we discussed all of our thoughts on forgiveness and other topics presented at the retreat, our school unified."
When we were not attending chapels, we were divided into teams, forming friendships with our teammates as we worked together toward a common goal: winning the title of Sky Mountain Team Champions.
Competition favorites were games like the water-balloon slingshot competition, a giant game of "clumps" and the canoe race. On the final night, each group brought their best and put on a hilarious skit.
"I really enjoyed putting on the skits," said Nicole Weeks, a sophomore. "It enabled the classes to work together as one big team."
While close ties were formed and friends competed against friends, students enjoyed plain old-fashioned fun, getting to know each other in the process.
As we worked together, we were able to learn more about the person painting posters next to us or offering to pray with us after chapel. It was both a time of growing individually and as a school.
We each have our favorite part of camp. Alex Arnold, a junior, said, "My favorite part was watching the freshmen get pranked by the seniors." (Faculty approved and harmless pranks, of course.)
Hopefully, those ninth-graders took the message about forgiveness to heart.
Courtney Taylor is a junior at Faith Christian High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.