This weekend at Fort Loudoun was the 250th anniversary of the Cherokees taking the fort from the British. We didn't make it to the battle reenactment, but we went in the evening to see the Ani-kituhwa warrior dancers.
I just wanted to see the dancing, but I got a bit more than I expected. Before the dancing, the Cherokee led their prisoners through the fort. There were women and children and fathers. I hear the stories and watch the movies, but seeing those children all tied up brought the reality of history much closer to home - even if it was only a reenactment. There has always been the good guy/bad guy thing. But those British soldiers, the ones we Americans were fighting against, were fathers and husbands and children of God. Perhaps we should all see the prisoners of war and not just go to watch the victory dance. A complicated but redeeming aspect was what the Cherokee did with their prisoners of war. The men were tested by being made to run the gauntlet. Then those found worthy, as well as all the women and children, were adopted into the Cherokee tribe as if there were no difference between one and the other. Perhaps some of the prisoners would have rather died, but I was struck by the ability of the Cherokee to forgive. Even though they felt wronged enough to make war on the British, when it was over, the prisoners were treated not like slaves but like family.
So a trip to see dancers turns into a reminder to be most grateful to God for the safety of my children and for the freedom He has granted us. And a reminder of God's own incomprehensible forgiveness toward us, who would be mere slaves but for His great love.