By Odon Bulamba (2 May 03)
By Odon Bulamba (2 May 03)
It’s a joy to see you again tonight and the Bible says, “blessed are those who share their joy with those who are joyful and blessed are those who share their distress with those who are distressed”. Tonight we are going to talk about a small topic and this topic is a branch of the Great Salvation. This small topic is called reconciliation.
There was once a Christian family who were friends with another family from a different tribe. The Christian family I speak about was a Tutsi family (we can remember the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994). And the other family was a Hutu family. When the Tutsi came into power they were chasing the Hutu to exterminate them and their aim was to annihilate them completely on their territory.
So this Hutu family that had Christian friends decided to flee their house and go into hiding in the house of the others knowing well that this was a Christian family and that their lives would be saved there. Once arriving at this house they were hidden in a bedroom. The Christian husband telephoned the Tutsi soldiers. He first put his Christian faith aside, he put his conscience to sleep and put his Bible a side. He said, “I will act as a Tutsi. I don’t need to think that I am a Christian or not. But I am going to act like a Tutsi. In 1952, the Hutu’s took and killed our ancestors. It’s time now to revenge ourselves.”
He asked the Tutsi soldiers to come and they came to the house. This family was asked to come out of the bedroom and the soldiers took a machete and it was given to the wife and she was asked to cut the throat of her first son and she said, “No, I can’t.” She was told that she had to cut the throat of her son. She said no again and so they took the machete and cut off one of her hands. They gave her back the machete and asked her to kill her son and the mum could see how the blood was pouring out of her hand. She was crying with pain and bitterness but she was still forced to cut the throat of her son. Because she was slow, they also cut her foot off and the husband and other children were watching this.
Finally, because the mum had lost a lot of blood she fainted. So they took the husband and said “It’s time now – you must kill your children.” And the husband couldn’t watch his children. He turned his face against his neighbour – he said “You – I know you as a Christian. I really trusted you as a brother in Christ but what are you doing? Is this what you preached to us from the gospel?” This man replied, “Yesterday I was a Christian but today I am a Tutsi. Remember what the bible says ‘Everything has its time’. That was the time to pray; now is the time to kill.”
The man took the machete and instead of killing his own children, he cut his own throat and he fell down dead. His children started crying, “How are we going to carry on with life? How are we going to live without a father or a mother? It would be better for us to die also.” And the Tutsi who were there were not bothered. They just said “You are paying the price for what your ancestors did.”
Thank God that after a certain time, this woman who had a hand and foot cut off, her body healed and once she was healed, the war was over and she went to visit this Christian family who had sacrificed them. She knocked on the door and once she would have come with two feet, now she comes with crutches. Before she had a hand that could move, her hand couldn’t be used anymore because it had been destroyed. So this woman came toward the Christian family and this family was surprised – she wasn’t dead! She said, “No, I didn’t die, I am still alive. But I am coming to you to talk to you. Although I have lost my hand and foot, I haven’t lost the love I have for you. I haven’t lost the kingdom of heaven. You cut my hand and my foot but you didn’t cut my life and one day you also will die as I will die so my presence here is not to accuse you but I am here to become reconciled with you. I know that you made yourself an enemy towards us but as for me I have kept loving you. I need reconciliation”.
So imagine what could be the attitude of the Tusti family? What would be your reaction if you were this family? And it was not easy for this Tusti family but they had to find a solution because this man was ashamed and his conscience started to remind him of all that happened, he stood up and kicked the lady. He said, “Get out of here. You are troubling me.” He was very nasty.
Imagine someone who comes for reconciliation after suffering wrongdoing and then being cast out again. And for us Christians we must learn something about reconciliation. Many situations happen in our lives where we apply hatred and when we practise hatred we reach the point of being murderers. The Bible says that whomever practises hatred is exactly the same as those who murder.
If you say, for example, “I hate this person”, that’s enough for God to say you are a murderer. If you say for example, “I hate a certain situation”, for God it’s the same. In 1 John 3:15 the Bible says whoever hates his brother is a murderer and you know that a murderer does not have eternal life in him. This is the first thing that prevents us from being reconciled to others. When we have hatred it’s not easy to go and see that person. When we have hatred it’s not easy to have a positive attitude. And everything we do will work together with hatred.