Trusting Biblical Truths Over Traditions
By Tim Smith
The 700 Club
Wil Yazzie remembers well the Navajo stories passed down from generation to generation. He calls these stories ‘The Traditional.’ “Traditional” is all on fears. If you drop an eagle feather, it’s bad luck. If a coyote crosses your path, you can’t cross that. My grandparents used to tell us stories. We’d sit there all night. I remember that’s the way I was taught.”
Wil grew up on a reservation in New Mexico. His family embraced Navajo tradition - which included alcohol. “It was terrible. For me, it was terrible when I was five years old, because my Mom and Dad drank.”
At eight years old, Wil was sent to a Navajo boarding school. When he was 12, he took his first drink. And by 15, he was an alcoholic. “Just right from the start, I passed out, and I liked that. But I did good in school, even though I was drinking. But I eventually got caught stealing money, when I was 15 years old.”
The prison door shut behind Wil many times over 8 years. He thought often of his Navajo traditions and beliefs, and the stories of his youth. “And then I remember, ‘this ‘Traditional’ hasn’t helped me yet. I’m a traditional person. I get drunk. I dance. It hasn’t helped me yet.’”
During one prison stay, something in a newspaper caught his eye. “It said, ‘Linda Amyx, looking for a pen pal…’ I thought, ‘I’ve got nothing to lose, anyway.’”
So Wil wrote to Linda, and a few weeks later, he got a response. Over time, they became good friends. Linda shared Bible verses and her Christian faith with Wil.
After 2 years of letters, Linda came to visit him. “We just said we love each other, and for the first time in my life, I loved and cared for someone, and someone cared for me, and loved me. That was so awesome.”
Wil was paroled two years later, and they married. But he returned to drinking and gambling. He wasn’t a Christian, and he had no desire to know God. “I was pushing God away. And I was pushing Linda away. I felt really guilty. And I think that’s why I started drinking again, very heavy.”
After only two years of marriage, Wil left Linda. “That was the most miserable, the most suffering I ever went through.”
Wil went from job to job, still drinking, yet still searching for truth. Twenty-five years went by. On New Year’s Day, 2005, he was sitting alone at a bus stop and remembered something he’d read. “Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but through Me.’ Right then and there, the Holy Spirit touched me. I said, ‘God, use me, however You want to use me. I want to be Your servant. I want to be Your disciple. I want to follow You.’ Right at that instant, He took everything away from me. I didn’t think about drinking. I didn’t think about drugs.”
Wil started going to church. He also knew he had unfinished business with Linda, and he wrote her a letter. “All I wanted to do was apologize for what I did to her.”
Linda recalls, “I wrote back, and told him, ‘I forgave you the day you left me.’ So we started afresh and anew.”
Two months later, after 28 years apart, Wil and Linda remarried. “She accepted me back. And so coming home was a good feeling.”
Linda knew it was different this time. “It was a beautiful marriage because I could trust him completely now. It would be Jesus Christ as the Head of the home.”
Today, Wil says he sees the traditions of his forefathers for what they are. “It’s just a story to me, today. But then, when I read the Bible, Jesus Christ is the only Way, and no man can convince me that there’s another story to go to. And that’s why I wrote the book. I want to help people that went through the same things that I went through.”
Wil’s book is entitled Total Pardon. “If God can save a person as bad as I was, He can save anybody: alcoholic, drug addict, a thief - anyone.”
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