In this final post of a series, we find out whether forgiveness came instantly for Alex, shoebox recipient in Rwanda – like popping open a ready-made coffee beverage bottle– or whether it was a personal process, like brewing a hot-off-the-French-press, well-crafted latte from scratch.
Bondage of Bitterness
The man who killed Alex’s grandmother has fled and no one knows where he is. The man who killed his uncle went to prison and is now out.
Many men who murdered are out of prison, doing community service. In the very communities in which they killed.
Can you imagine the challenge for the communities to accept these men? To run into them in the market? To offer them forgiveness?
During our hangout, Alex expounded on the “bondage of bitterness.”
I almost mis-typed that. I almost wrote, “the bitterness of bondage.”
We are accustomed to bondage being bitter.
But bitterness, Alex shared, is bondage.
Forgiveness is a Process
Alex humanized the experience for us, giving us hope:
Forgiveness human to human, like a well-crafted coffee drink, is a process.
There’s the brewing. The pouring. The waiting. The frothing. The sweetening. The gentle stir. And the sharing.
Forgiveness doesn’t happen instantaneously. It is a series of choices.
God has walked with Alex through the forgiveness process. Right up to the sharing. With the man who killed his family. Meeting in prison. In Rwanda.
And forgiveness for Alex, for the communities in Rwanda, for all of us, continues to be a walk of faith.
Warning: This video contains graphic images. Because it’s real.
(Email subscribers, click here to view video on website.)
Why should we forgive? How can we forgive?
We forgive because God forgave us.
Forgiveness is Instantaneous
Forgiveness from God is instantaneous. It happens the moment we believe in His gift on the cross.
Men who killed innocent people have received Christ as their Savior, believing His sacrifice was enough. They are free from their sin. From their bondage to their sin. They will enjoy an eternity with God in heaven. Salvation is a gift.
Survivors of the genocide who refuse to trust the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ to cleanse their own sin – unless they change their minds about receiving forgiveness themselves, no matter how deep the pain they have endured – will die without hope.
Whether victim or victimizer, those who receive salvation by the power of the blood of Jesus are, as Alex shared, “living in peace.”
And will have peace with God forever.
Forgiveness is Instantaneous and is a Process
Forgiveness from God is instantaneous. Forgiveness from man is a process.
And in our lifetimes, we will all have opportunities to give … and to receive.
A lifetime …
- Of brewing, our grounds for retribution with His grounds for the same. (yikes)
- Of pouring – our hearts out to God. (whew, a shoulder, a big, big shoulder)
- Of waiting – for His work to be complete in us. (patience, paaaatiennnnce)
- Of frothing – when the emotions pour over us at the memories. (arghs & tears)
Of sweetening – as others share their hearts, their journeys with us, and we with them. (ahhh)
Of a gentle stir – when we’d rather work so very hard to keep our insides separate from our outsides, layered like foam on espresso. (hmmm …)
- And of sharing – of coming together with the Lord to pray for one another, and to offer forgiveness. (amen)
Forgiveness: One drip, one drop at a time.
REALITY CHECK: Are you struggling with forgiveness? Let God walk with you through the process. Trust His mercies while you walk through the fire called life. Sometimes it just plain burns. And yah, I’m still in process, too.
Did you miss the series? Begin here with Interview with Alex, Part 1
Many thanks to Alex Nsengimana for sharing his life, his experiences, his heart for the Lord, his passion to share the Gospel, and for slipping on a cow patty.