Indian Life Newspaper -

"Healing the Heart"


Last updated 9/23/2012 at 8:24pm


Many of us suffer from a broken heart. When we focus on loving God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves, that’s when true healing can begin.

Healing is a huge need within our Indigenous communities. The widespread effects of everything within the colonial effort have caused heartache. Yet, in addition to the things that have happened to our people, in the past, there are everyday situations, in the present, that also affect us.

The Bible has many verses that deal with healing. How do we go beyond just seeking an apology? How do we discover true healing and freedom that brings about the full redemption of the past? A full redemption that is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ, rooted in the Scriptures, which have been passed down to us as Indigenous people.

My mother went to residential school, but passed away seven years ago. My family has been filling out an application for the “Independent Assessment Process” to try to claim some money through her estate. My sister is the executor of the estate, but going through the paper work has been hard on her, because she was raised by our late mother. I was adopted and didn’t meet her until I was eighteen. Assisting my sister with this 20-page application form has even been hard on me. Going through some of our mom’s written statements and telling how her experience affected her life has stirred up hurt, shame, and pain from my past too.

Going through this application has stirred within me a desire to help my people deal with the hurt of the past, no matter what that may consist of. We all hurt and we all feel the deep emotions of loss. As an up and coming pastor, I’ve been involved in a number of funerals. Going through the grieving process with people is always uncomfortable and filled with feelings we don’t want to face or deal with.

I want to write about healing that is based on the life of Jesus, and the writings of the Bible. When we look at the entire Bible, we see life, death and heartache all over the pages. God created the entire universe, including all living creatures, plants, and humans. God speaks the first man into existence and breathes His life into him. He makes us in His image (Genesis 1-2). Then the fall of man/woman takes place, and the death/curse of sin now replaces what was meant to be pure, and then the first man and woman are kicked out the garden (Genesis 3). Within Adam and Eve’s first offspring death begins to take the domino effect. Cain kills his brother Abel and the sin of Adam and Eve is in full stride (Genesis 4).

Jesus Christ is prophesied about throughout the entire Old Testament and then shows up on the scene in the New Testament. It is through this person, who is fully God and fully man, that healing is able to take place. When we look at Matthew 4:25-41, we see Jesus sleeping in a boat (as man), yet calming the storm (as God). It’s this same Jesus that wants to calm the storms in our lives and not only calm the storm, but bring healing.

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are filled with individual stories of how Jesus healed people physically, but Jesus also came to heal us spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Jesus doesn’t always choose to heal us all physically, but if we seek Him He can be found, and He will meet all our needs according to His will. When we learn to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 26: 36-40), this is also part of the healing process.

Photos: Parry Stelter

Parry Stetler is a student at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta.

As we continue on this journey of healing together, we will take a look at many relevant issues that we all face on a day to day basis. How do we heal from the curse of sin in all our lives? Sin has affected us all in a negative way, and will continue to do so until we die or Christ returns. Instead of reacting to sin with more sin, we need to look to Jesus, Who is the Author and Perfector of our faith, and seek the type of healing that lasts forever (Hebrews 12).

I know many of you are hurting and need healing. Let’s look to the Healer Himself, and receive the type of healing that money or apologies can’t buy. Let’s let the Chief Physician heal our hearts, so that we can be a light in a world of darkness (John 8: 12-30).

Let us go on this journey of healing together.

—Parry Stelter is orginally from Alexander First Nation with his wife Angeline and their two daughters.

They live in Edmonton, AB.


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