What Is The Power of Forgiveness?


In the Navajo dialect, “Dine” is the word for “The People.”

My family lived among the American Indians from 1997-2005.

They were mainly the Navajo and Pueblo Indian Nations of New Mexico. We lived side by side to them in the small town of Pena Blanca

It’s been a privilege knowing these great people. There is so much that I can say about Native Americans. We have been hospitably received by them.

Something tells me that God will spark revival among them based on His principle that the last shall be first.

I discovered that God did not make it easy for me to preach to Native American Christians without first asking their forgiveness.  What the white man such as me has done to them throughout history in the Name of Jesus is inexcusable and irreprehensible.

One time my wife Mary and I were invited to preach at a large Navajo church in Ganado, Arizona, in the heart of the Navajo nation.

We had been video filming Holy Spirit outpourings in the Navajo Nation. The pastor wanted us to talk on the project which God had given to us. Our vision was to promote Christian television for Native Americans.

The church was packed with more than two hundred Navajo folks. Mary and I were the only white faces in the crowd.

We sat towards the back of the sanctuary. It was the only free seats. The pastor was to call me up once the worship concluded.

As the songs rang out God broke me. “How can you preach to these people without first asking them to forgive you and the white man for all the terrible things that you have done to them?”

I felt so small, so insignificant next to these great people.  I saw beauty in their faces, and the majesty of God upon them.

I realized the intense love that Jesus had for them and how wonderfully He had created them to be.  My heart broke with shame and remorse. I sat with my head hanging between my knees.

“We want to welcome Brother Alvarez from the Christian Indian TV Network, who is going to share with us what the Lord is doing with them,” The pastor’s voice rang out.

People clapped as I proceeded to the podium. I felt broken and weak. What could I say but the truth?

As I looked squarely at the mass of people nothing about the work with Native American television would come out of my mouth. I was almost crying, my heart broken in half.

Stammering and stuttering I said, “I was going to speak to you about our work with the Christian Indian TV Network, but as I sat back there God really broke me. He told me that before I could ever preach to you, I need to ask you to forgive me and the white man for all the wrong things that we have done to you. Will you forgive me and the white man?”

There was dead silence in the sanctuary.

One lady finally chimed up, “We forgive you Brother Alvarez.”

The service grounded to a dead halt.  People arose from their chairs and came up to the podium. Mary and I stepped into the river of people.  We all began hugging. Tears were flowing.  Words of love were uttered. The glory of God broke out. It was true revival!

One man came to me, “I was so bitter at the white man, but today God has set me free.”

Another man hung his bolo tie with a beautiful turquoise around my neck. A lady did the same to Mary and a turquoise necklace.

Needless to say, there was no discussion about Christian Indian Television.

The power of forgiveness is one of the greatest powers in the universe. Humbling yourself without defense or justification or asking what about the other guy is a great tool.

This is revival; this is the glory of God.

Repenting to the Dine is The Power of Forgiveness.

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Image

With our beautiful Navajo friends in Shiprock, NM

 

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