What steps can we take towards new hope...
As a community of Christians, what can we do when we come face to face with hate – such a strong hate towards our neighbor that can move us to pick up a machete or a gun and kill? How can we respond not only to hatred that kills quickly, but also to underlying attitudes and indifference which are just as destructive? Is there any hope for us?
In 1994 the world watched in horror as images from Rwanda beamed into their homes. The long simmering tensions between the two major people-groups in that land exploded. A vicious genocide took place in which over a million Tutsi and anyone who stood with them, were killed by Hutu extremists. While the world knew what was happening, the international community failed to intervene. Even worse, the U.N. withdrew their troops. The commitment made after the holocaust that “never again” would the world remain silent in the face of such atrocities proved hollow in Rwanda.
Sadly, many Christians were accused of being part of the problem instead of standing for peace and justice in the face of this catastrophe. Over 80% of Rwandans regularly attended church. Not only individual Christians, but even the organized church, and those who led it, participated in the massacres or stood by silently as the genocide spread throughout the nation.
After the genocide came to an end, remaining church leaders were traumatized and didn’t know how to respond to what had taken place. They struggled over how to move forward from all the pain and guilt. They asked, “Is there any hope?”