Over one million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide (1994) when ethnic Hutus, convinced by the government, murdered Tutsi neighbours and friends. Of the 120,000 prisoners who confessed to these crimes, 50,000 were released in 2003. The 2007 documentary As We Forgive: The Story of Rwanda’s Redemption witnesses to the impact of the release of these prisoners, sharing the story of a country focused on confession, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Victims, living in the same neighbourhoods as those who murdered their families. Murderers, working in their communities to restore roads, rebuild schools and churches, and especially seeking forgiveness for their crimes. Receiving forgiveness releases the murderers. Offering forgiveness releases the victims, too. Pain is transformed into peace, trust and restored relationships.
The relationship between Joseph and his brothers is restored in the weeping, cleansing, healing and forgiveness of their terrible crimes against him. Yet even the most despicable is forgivable when God is involved.
O God, we do not always wish to forgive those who have harmed us in any way, yet we know that the acid of "unforgiveness" often worsens the pain. Embolden us to forgive, to forgive always, to forgive often, to forgive the most despicable, for there you are in the midst of forgiveness, offering yet more life and healing than we can imagine possible. Amen. — FS