Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 5, from Paul - a lesson in reconciliation

A few months back I can remember someone saying something to went something like "You know, I just can't be so-and-so's friend anymore. They do this, they do that, they do the other thing. They're always thinking of themself, they never consider what I want to do." Does that sound familiar? Do you think I might be picking on you a little? Even if it's not you, I'll bet you can think of someone who has said something similar to you, and I myself have been guilty of it - we break off relations with someone for reasons that seem really important and justifiable, and sometimes we even give ourselves a pat on the back for at least not saying anything snotty. Then comes today - read on...

Today our group traveled to the village Nyamata. There we met with a group of men and women who were involved with the genocide. The picture you see with this entry shows three men I want you to take a REAL good look at. The man in the stripe shirt is Elijah. He is a Hutu. The men in the white shirts are Gastou (the tall one on the left) and Celestine (on the right). Those two men are Tutsi. During his childhood, Elijah's parents and grandparents impressed upon his young mind that Tutsi's were evil and should not be allowed to live. When the genocide started, there was nothing to stop him, so Elijah did as he had been programmed - he started killing Tutsis. He killed 3 - including relatives of both Gaston and Celestine!

As the advent of the genocide subsided, Elijah's conscience bothered him so much that he became a changed man - first, he confessed to God and received Christ as his Savior, and then he turned himself in to the authorities. He served time for his crimes, and then was released to return to the community where he had lived - and where he had committed his crimes!

He began working at a local shop, only to have Gaston as his first customer. Gaston's father-in-law had been one of Elijah's victims. Gaston had struggled since the end of the genocide, and could not work because of debilitating headaches. Upon seeing a doctor, the physician's recommendation was that he had to do something to let go of the hatred that was binding him so much spiritually and emotionally that it was having literal, physical effects. At a reconciliation workshop, he came across Elijah. Over a short period of time the two were reconciled, and Celestine soon added to their trio. The three are now not only fast friends, they are brothers in the Lord! They travel to prisons and offer their testimonies, and those stories are now changing lives - not only in the community, but across the country!

Do you have a troubled or severed relationship with loose ends like those of these three men did? Is there hatred or bitterness separating you from another? Please, for your own sake and the sake of the other party, RECONCILE NOW!!! If these three men can do so after the atrocities and barbarism of a genocide, you can too.

More later...keep us in prayer, as we do you!!!

No comments: