To Forgive and Be Forgiven

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I picked up this book tonight on a trip to Barnes and Noble with my honey.  As I was sipping my cappuccino in the cafe area and reading the introduction, I knew immediateley it was a keeper.... and a life changer.  

15 years ago this month, a tragedy occured halfway around the world that forever changed the face and the heart of Africa.  On April 6, 1994 a plane carrying the Rwandan president, the Burundi president and six others was shot down, igniting a one-hundred day long massacre that resulted in the violent deaths of nearly one million Rwandans.  The UN tip-toed around the question of "genocide" and politics over funding delayed desperately needed aid, intervention and relief.  

Now after 15 years, Rwanda is still recovering.  Today, tens of thousands of killers from the 1994 genocide are being released... and victims are forced to face the very people who killed their loved ones.  This book is about the reconicilation of a country has been redeemed by forgiveness.  And its also about something more... its about the deeper lessons we as an entire global population can learn.... if Rwanda can recover from a massive genocide-- 800,000 to 1,000,000 people slaughtered by neighbors and friends in less than 100 days-- what does that say about the hope and possibilities that lie in forgiveness for the rest of the world?  

Here's some excerpts from the authors website about the book....
Rwanda looms as a vastly uncharted case study in forgiveness. Why are survivors who lost entire families willing to forgive and befriend those who destroyed their lives? Why are once-militant and murderous Hutus now repenting of their crimes? These questions beckon the humble to explore the pain, the mystery, and the heartbreaking beauty of the process. 
Though the global community is shrinking through technology and travel, it is not erasing the prejudices and the ideological tensions that have divided peoples for centuries.
Could there be a common roadmap to reconciliation? Could there be a shared future after unthinkable evil? If forgiveness is possible after the slaughter of nearly a million in 100 days in Rwanda, then, today more than ever, we owe it to humanity to explore how one country is addressing perceptual, social-psychological, and spiritual dimensions to achieve a more lasting peace. If forgiveness is possible after genocide, then perhaps there is hope for the comparably smaller rifts that plague our relationships, our communities, and our nation. These stories of Rwandan reconciliation provide a roadmap not just for national healing, but for healing on a personal level as we learn what it means to forgive and be forgiven.

I am excited to read this book to learn more about what happened, and to read about the amazng work that God is doing in that country through forgiveness.  And since this is Good Friday, I am also reminded of the amazing forgiveness that this day signifies for all believers.... its not a day of a million casualties, but it marks the brutal death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  And with that death, he took on the sin of all nations, all peoples.... you... and me.  And ultimately, it is because of his forgiveness, and his death on the cross that we have hope in him!  It is Friday.... but Sunday is coming.  The victory is won!  

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