Over the space of 100 days, six men, women and children were murdered every minute, of every hour of every day. An estimated 1,000,000 people lost their lives, often at the hands of those they would have called neighbour or friend.
If I had suffered such loss, like those in the horrific genocide in Rwanda, would I be able to forgive? If I had lost members of my own family – experienced the death of loved ones in such brutal circumstances – would I, could I forgive the killers?
During my recent visit to Rwanda, I was deeply moved when I witnessed the forgiveness being exhibited by those I met. Despite suffering so much, lives torn apart by the horror of genocide, I witnessed incredible forgiveness. I saw reconciliation between perpetrators and victims.
I have spent much time reflecting on this experience since returning to Scotland. I have been constantly challenged by the whole question of forgiveness. Thankfully, I have never experienced anything close to that of the people I met in Rwanda. But I wonder how I would rate my own level of forgiveness to those who have wronged me, whether I had experienced a petty grievance or a major hurt.
The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness and reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians, we are told that God leads by example:
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NLT)
As I travelled throughout Rwanda, visiting Bible Society projects across the country, I saw first-hand the healing of deep emotional wounds. And at the very heart of this was the Bible. With the Bible at the heart of my life, I pray that I will be able to forgive others in the manner that I witnessed in Rwanda.
Community Partnership Manager
Please will you consider inviting me to share some of these amazing and encouraging stories. I want to tell your church or group about how the Bible is changing the lives of thousands of Rwandans.