The Power in Forgiveness
The Power in Forgiveness
In 2015 I was inspired to paint this true story, and it was approximately two years later when I received a small booklet in my mailbox. The free booklet was called “Hope for all” and within its pages was the very same story that I’d begun to paint two years prior. I call that confirmation.
This painting reveals the past and yet it is prophesying the future. I have called this painting “Uncovering the Past” and I am encouraged by Jesus who also used nature to reveal the Kingdom of heaven and His Fathers timing through nature and parables. The subjects in the painting are representative of a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy, sounds familiar, John 10:10.
In the painting you will see at the bottom left hand corner of the canvas a small page, it is a page from the Bible, it reads Ruka (the Maori word for Luke) Chapter 6:37. In front of it lays a small pocket watch which reveals the year 1836. It tells of time when a twelve year old Maori girl named Tarore was tragically killed on October 19th 1836 by a tribal raiding party. The green Mere speaks of a weapon that can kill.
I pray and hope you will be blessed by this past true story which changed a people and a Nation through one man’s obedience to honour the words of Jesus and to forgive his enemies.
This paintings message and timing is for all. It is a story of hope and reconciliation, it’s a message that reveals what can happen when one forgives another just as Jesus asked us to do.
The bird I have portrayed in this painting is called a Weka bird. It is from the Rail family of bird species. A Weka can’t fly, it lives mainly in bushy areas throughout New Zealand. Its character is better known as a cheeky opportunist who will steal any shiny thing. In the past the early Bushmen would have their watches and teaspoons stolen by Weka’s from out of their tents while they were out cutting down trees. I can just imagine a Weka racing off into the bush with someone’s watch or a teaspoon hanging out of their beak.
The Weka is also known to kill small birds, like ducklings or swamp hen chicks for food. I love painting the Weka bird, its colours blend into the natural bush environment quite often they can be hard to see just like a thief. Here I have prophetically portrayed it as the enemy, who comes to steal, kill and destroy the destiny that God has planned for each of us.
Luke 6: 27 “But I say to you who hear; “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, “bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
35, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
It is so easy to read these words of Jesus, but for many it’s so incredibly hard to do. But I want to encourage those who continue to struggle with wounds that haven’t yet been healed with this true story; may it encourage you because this is what can happen when we do chose to forgive others.
1830 was a time in New Zealand’s history when early pioneering immigrants began arriving from England to start a new life. It was a time of early contact between Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) and European immigrants.
New to the nation was the Reverent Alfred Brown and his wife Charlotte, who in the true essence of the missionary pioneering spirit wanted to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Maori people of New Zealand. They set up their first mission school in 1835. The Browns taught their students how to read and write and they also bought a different learning too, that was “Love your enemies; do good; and love those who hate you; bless those who curse you; and pray for those who mistreat you.”
One Maori chief named Ngakuku wanted his youngest daughter to learn this new way of love and so he took his daughter Tarore along to the mission school. Tarore was a bright little student and was always hungry to learn all that she could.
The Browns loved their bright little student and they wanted to encourage her by giving her a gift for all the hard work she had done. The Reverent Brown and his wife Charlotte presented Tarore with the small New Testament of the Gospel of Luke (Te Rongopai a Ruka) (The Gospel of Luke) printed in Maori.
She treasured it and kept it close to her heart by carrying it in a little flax basket (kete) that she hung around her neck. She would often read the stories of Jesus to those around her, telling them to “Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; and pray for those who mistreat you.”
But not all was well in the region, unrest between the different Maori tribes became more dangerous for the mission school and so the Rev Brown and his wife Charlotte decided to move the school further away to a safer place.
In October 1836 they gathered together all the children along with Tarore’s father Ngakuku as their guide. They set off in the direction of the Bay of Plenty a coastal region. After travelling for most of the day they decided to camp beside a waterfall for the night. Their camp fire sadly attracted the unwanted attention of another enemy tribe’s warrior scouts. It wasn’t uncommon at that time for tribes to set upon each other and kill one another.
The next morning just before dawn the enemy scouts attacked the mission camp, all of students and staff fled into the surrounding bush except Tarore, she was still asleep. The enemy warrior took his weapon and ended Tarore’s life on the 19th of October 1836. The warrior took the keke (little flax basket) holding the gospel of Luke from around her neck, he wondered what it held.
After their escape Ngakuku noticed that Tarore wasn’t with them, so he returned to the camp site where he came upon her tiny body. He picked her up in his arms and carried her back to their tribal home. His tribe wanted Utu (payment, revenge, a life for a life). Conflicting emotions ran through Ngakuku’s spirit as he grieved over the death of his daughter. All he had ever known was what he had been taught, an eye for an eye, but yet his Christian faith demanded forgiveness.
Ngakutu returned to Rev. Brown and asked him if his daughter was in heaven and Reverend Brown said “Yes” and because of that Ngakutu wanted her to have a Christian burial. This was unacceptable to the tribe, but Ngakutu was adamant that retaliation must end with her, it is finished now he said. At Tarore’s tangi (funeral) Ngakuku did something that was truly amazing. With God’s help he preached on forgiveness.
It was some four years later when the warrior who had killed Tarore took the strange little book and began to read “the Gospel of Luke.” When he read the message of forgiveness he became restless and sorrowful for what he had done. He wanted to find Tarore’s father and ask for his forgiveness, so he began his long journey even taking the risk of utu (retaliation of a life for a life) and upon finding Tarore’s father Ngakuku he asked for his forgiveness and they shook hands. The warriors of the raiding party who also were a part of Tarore’s death also wanted to read this strange little book and so they took the Gospel home for they themselves but couldn’t read it. One day a man who could read Maori read it to them, the warriors were so moved that they were converted to Christianity and embraced the New Way the Gospel of peace.
How blessed is this Nation by what this amazing Maori Chief and man of God Ngakuku did. Let us be reminded of Tarore’s death, and honour her heart’s desire for peace, forgiveness and love for her Jesus.
Prophecy (2015 -2019)
I believe that the Maori people of New Zealand will once again bring revival to this Nation just as they did in the mid 1800’s. Apparently during that period over 90% of Maori embraced the Gospel of Jesus. I believe that this Nation of New Zealand, the first to see the dawning of a new day, will once again be significant in God’s timing and His blessings as we turn back to Him.
It has already begun and it will continue into the future
2015 -2019 “Uncovering the Past”