Last week I was in Rwanda, which reminded me that seventeen years ago more than 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered by their own people. On that dreadful night in April 1994, neighbors whose children had played together for years took machetes and savagely murdered their friends and neighbors who were a part of the “wrong tribe.” The devastation lasted for three horrendous months.
Some of the murderers were religious people who attended church every Sunday. How could church-going people be so cruel and not have the love of Jesus in their hearts? The scriptures tell us that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).
Today, seventeen years later, things have changed in Rwanda. The nation is becoming a model nation for the rest of Africa. It is by far the cleanest African nation I have ever visited. Once each month on a Saturday, the Rwandan president leads the way as everyone cleans the streets in their communities. God has restored a sense of dignity to His people in this beautiful nation. Family members of those who were slaughtered through the genocide are now going into the prisons to minister the forgiveness of Christ to those who had murdered their loved ones. The murderers are coming to Christ and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness. It is beautiful. Redemption at its greatest!
The government of Rwanda has erected a genocide memorial in the capital of Kigali, so that all Rwandese and visitors will never forget the 1994 atrocity and the tendency of the human heart.
There are three clear lessons we can learn from Rwanda:
• Our heart without a relationship with God is desperately wicked, no matter how religious our actions.
• God is faithful and redemptive. No matter what happens in our lives, through Christ we can see horrible situations turned around for good if we trust Him and walk in humility before the Lord.
• Good leadership is paramount for us to see corporate change.
Let’s ask God to search our hearts for any unforgiveness that could produce devastation in the lives of others. Then let’s humble ourselves, ask our God for forgiveness and for more grace to be the servant leaders He has called us to be.