Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Power of Reconcilliation

This past week I observed a poignant reconciliation between a Native American Chief and a leader of an international ministry representing the Church. The minister invited the Chief to come and receive a much deserved apology from the Church for the injustices incurred against his people in the past. The Chief was honored with gifts and blessings for his people. An offering was taken up and given to him in full for the needs of his people. I saw the Chief wiping tears from his eyes as the two leaders embraced. The Chief said he held no bitterness towards anyone for the crimes committed, but he accepted this apology on behalf of his tribe. Another Native American Chief by the name of Bigpond was there and he spoke about his efforts to bring reconciliation, forgiveness, and restoration to his people. Senator Brownback is working tirelessly to put through legislation which will have the government officially issue and apology to the Native American people for the injustice done to them. Such a mending of relations with the Native Americans will be good for our nation and will help the native people immensely.

I have been to several other reconciliatory exchanges; one in my city and one in Nashville. All have been deeply poignant and meaningful. The Lord says that if my people humble themselves and repent I will hear them and heal their land. Our land is in the middle of a huge economic crisis among other problems. We most certainly need the Lord’s healing of our nation. Notwithstanding, reconciliation is the right thing to do even if it was our ancestors that brought about the injustice.

One of the things discussed at the conference I attended was about how awesome it was that our nation would go from a place of degrading slavery to a place of electing a President from the same race that was once treated thus. This shows a new day has dawned for Americans. Many of us, myself included, may not support the policies of the President elect, but we must treat him with utmost respect in all we say. We must learn how to respect people with great kindness even when we hold political or religious differences.

I also just finished reading an historical fiction book written by Robert Cornuke. It brought to the forefront the mistreatment of the Chinese people in our land that continued well after the Civil War. They were still treated like slaves after slavery was outlawed. They came over in search of good honorable work to send money home to their starving families only to be abused and treated like scum to build our railroad.

I recall the story of the missionary who went to share the gospel with a violent tribe and through a misunderstanding was murdered along with his team by the tribe. The story is recounted in the film The End of the Spear. Years later the wives of the murdered missionaries went back to the tribe to communicate their forgiveness and they were received and the whole tribe became believers of Jesus. The children of the missionaries and the children of the tribe are now good friends.

As Christians we need to be the first to stand for justice and be the first to repent for the sins of our fathers. It doesn’t matter if it was our fault, it was injustice done in our land. The only way for healing is through continual forgiveness and reconciliation. We, as believers, should always have an attitude of reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness no matter if we were personally responsible or not. I Corinthians 13 tells us that love keeps no records of wrongs. It always trusts, always perseveres, always hopes and never fails.

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