Sunday, December 15, 2013

Preaching to Murderers

My mind has been bothered lately... I think my soul has too.

Let me explain this to you and how it came about.  See in about a month I'm going to Rwanda with my pastor.  On our trip we'll be teaching at an apologetics conference and preaching in the local church.  As we've been prepping for our trip my pastor read a book titled Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda.  After reading the book he passed it on to me and I read it; here's what I learned.

Before Europe conquered Africa and divided up the land Rwanda was lead by a king.  The king has three leaders over three different aspects of life: Military, Livestock and Agriculture.  The leader of the Military could be a Tutsi or a Hutu, the leader of livestock was always a Tutsi and the leader of the agriculture was always a Hutu.  Once Belgium came in they were under the assumption that the Tutsi's were better leaders because of their height, lighter colored skin and positions they were currently holding.  Therefore they promoted the Tutsi's and educated them more, leaving the Hutu's out to farm.  The Belgians also brought identity cards with them solidifying the segregation.

Years of this segregation created an undercurrent of frustration in Rwanda that climaxed in April 1994 with the genocide.  In the genocide 800,000+ people were murdered, read that line again: 800,000+ people were murdered.  Estimates guess that 20% of the nations people were killed in the genocide.  No country intervened for months, if I remember correctly it was about 100 days of killing.  The Hutu's were fed-up and started killing all the Tutsi's because: their skin was lighter, they had livestock and they was a different nostril flare.

Now before you try to separate this emotionally and put some rational behind the killing you have to remember the majority of the killing was done with machetes.  I've never killed anyone, but my first choice wouldn't be to use a machete.  A machete would be an intimate way to kill someone; there is very little distance and you would become closely acquainted with you victim.

Now you have to add a layer to all this senseless killing.  The killing wasn't done by a country to invade another country.  The killing wasn't done with bombs and snipers.  The killing was done with machetes who killed their neighbors.  People who were being killed would say things like: "John (fictitious name), how come you're doing this, you're my neighbor."

The genocide in Rwanda was neighbors killing their neighbors with machetes.

If you're still reading then your interested in where I'm going.  I'm guessing that when I preach in the local church, most of the darker skinned men, and maybe women, over the age of 38 have killed someone.  The disturbing facts of group evil are at play here.  Something an 18 year old male is unwilling to do on his own, he is willing to do in the company of other men his age: group evil.

I can't get the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount out of my head:
You have heard it was said long ago: "Don't murder" but I tell you anyone who even thinks about hurting their brother or sister has committed murder in their mind. Matthew 5:21-24 (my translation)
I shouldn't be surprised that I'll have an opportunity to preach to murders but its been messing with my brain.  The reality is we've all committed murder in our mind, the people I may or may not get to meet acted on the thoughts.

No comments: