Kuria’s ICC ‘fixing’ claims a positive step to healing and reconciliation

The recent revelation by Hon. M. Kuria of the alleged fixing of ICC suspects has been received with mixed reactions. Some politicians and religious leaders think Kuria’s claims are “opening up old wounds” and polarizing the nation. I beg to differ with this thinking. Kuria should be celebrated! He is launching the country into a very crucial process of genuine forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

It is true that the question of PEV is a serious and divisive matter. It is one of the regrettable moments of our history as a nation. Though it is eight years ago, the memories are still fresh in our minds. Many lives were lost, while others still bear the marks on their bodies, relationships between individuals and communities broken, and property destroyed. The worst thing to do is bury our heads on the sand and pretend that the problem does not exist.  It will be insensitive of Kenyans to blindly say “let’s move on” without resolving the real issues amicably.

Over the last eight years, there have been efforts to ensure justice is implemented but this has been elusive and to some extent unsuccessful. There has also been attempts toward peace, reconciliation, and bring cohesion among communities but still much has not been achieved.

As a matter of fact, today the issue of PEV is still an emotive issue(no wonder we still call it a ‘wound’ not a ‘scar’) because no passionate move has been pursued to bring healing. We have never resolved our issues; we buried them like the person who resorts to chang’aa to forget his problems. During the last general election many people travelled to their rural/tribal homes because “who knows what could happen”. I take this as an indicator that we have only wished our problems away and have not decisively dealt with them.

Hon. Kuria’s ‘fixing’ claims and disclosure of his role in relation to the PEV cases is fundamental because it can redirect us into a path to genuine forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. The foundational step toward genuine forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation is confession. It sounds simple yet it is not an easy thing to do. It takes courage to say, “I am sorry, I did it. Forgive me”. It is a courageous move because it expresses one’s willingness to accept responsibility and consequence of their actions.

In my opinion, this man’s confession should be commended rather than condemned. I wish there could be thousands of echoes across the country of the same confessions. And for that matter, such voices should be listened to if we are serious about reestablishing trust. Confession is the medicine to reconciliation. You may not agree with Mr. Kuria on everything he says but on this issue he is telling his version of truth. Sometimes truth hurts yet it is what brings true healing and liberation.

We have all along believed that blanket forgiveness will resolve the 2008 post poll chaos, but that strategy was doomed to failure from the start. It has only worsened the situation and created more resentment, hurt and division. True healing and reconciliation only begins when the offender specifically admits his/her wrong and is sorrowful over his/her attitudes and actions. Genuine words of confession do not and should not polarize a nation but firmly unite. They do not increase hurt and suspicion but fosters genuine love, unity, and restores trust. We can enhance peace and cohesion not by urging people, “Let’s forget and move on” but by calling a wrong a wrong and asking for forgiveness.

Confession and sorrow for one’s action is important because it also leads to the path of recovery and justice. Although restitution can be impossible in cases where lives were lost; the victims should be helped to pick up their lives and move on. A wrong must be righted. Stolen things should be returned. Truth should be told. Those found guilty should humbly take responsibility. This becomes easier after the offender admits his/her wrong and seeks forgiveness from the one offended. In our opinions, let’s all give truth a chance by creating an environment where people can publicly admit their past wrongs without fear of physical or verbal attack. Confession and sorrow for a wrong done is necessary for genuine forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME

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One of the very essential truths that God wants every believer to learn is to wholly depend on Him every single day. It is a lesson he consistently taught the Israelites for over forty years in the wilderness. Let’s read Exodus 16:15-21.

When the Israelites saw it (manna), they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs…’ The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some gathered little. And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. 

God had provided food for his people but the condition was that each was to collect what was enough for a day. Then Moses said to them, ‘No one is to keep any of it until morning.’ However some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed (vv.19, 20)But some disobeyed and stockpiled for the following day. Unfortunately, it didn’t last; it had an expiry date of the same day!

Jesus also taught his disciples on the same (living one day at a time). In the Lord’s Prayer, the disciples are to pray, “Give us TODAY our daily bread”; in the same chapter (Matt 6) the disciples are further instructed on the same subject.

Why should Christ’s disciples live each day at a time?

God knows what we need– Living one day at a time stems from the understanding that God knows what we need. Prayer is not a channel of furnishing God with information or list of our needs but a channel of expressing dependence on God. For sure, He knows what you need, Matt 6: 31-34. He not only knows what you need but also when you need it. God knows our daily needs and he is in a daily business of ensuring that those needs are met.

Each day has enough trouble of its own– Matt 6:34- Each day has its own challenges, worries, disappointments, discouragements, and demands. But at the same time, each day has its own highs, joys, praises, and opportunities. Each day, we have our hands full.

Further, each day brings about newness. God’s mercies are new every morning, (Lam 3: 22-23). Each day has its, new connections, new assignments, and new wonders. The Hebrew meaning of manna is “What is this?” Israelites woke up each morning collecting and wondering, “what is this?” (manna).

Although you may have many challenges to face, remember every single day brings about God’s sufficient grace and power to overcome. And I pray that this day God will surprise your life with good things.

There is enough for our need not for our greed –In the Exodus account, there are some people who disobeyed what God had said through Moses. They collected manna more than they needed for a day; but it never worked to their advantage. Why did some people collect more than they were supposed to? It is apparent that they were driven by human greed. They had a selfish desire to have more and more for themselves. Gathering more today does not necessarily mean satisfaction or a secured tomorrow. Bringing together concern’s for tomorrow and today is a good recipe for worry. But God’s daily provision is sufficient for our need.

It is an expression of trust in God- To put this point in perspective, ponder on this: Why didn’t God rain manna that would be stocked for a whole year or so? I think one of the reason is that God was teaching his people to trust Him step by step. It is not an easy one. It is harder to walk by faith than by sight. Yet, trusting God is a daily aspect we have to learn and apply. God’s people must learn to surrender control and put trust in God and on his unfailing promises. The point is, the God who provided for my needs yesterday is the same Jehovah Jireh who can do it once again and in the future. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, Heb 13:8. And so, living one day at a time means walking by faith and not by sight, 2 Cor 5:7.

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WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE?

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It is very easy in life to adopt a false view of ourselves. On one hand, a wrong estimate of who we are can lead us into low self esteem and on the other hand the danger is an inflated ego. The Bible gives us a crystal-clear picture and truth of who we are in Christ. Here is a short verse that has been helpful to me.

1 Cor 4:7- “For what makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”  

You might rightfully want to ask yourself, “What is it that makes me different from other people? Could it be: wealth, family, education, power, personality, beauty, strength, diligence, intelligence, job, health, or talent?

Probably you might be tempted to think these things have ‘made’ you what/who you have become; but a honest analysis will show that God is indeed the one who has made all the difference. He is the one in whom all things hold together. All things in our possession have been RECEIVED (except our sin nature). It’s all about the grace of God. From God we have received grace upon grace.

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The idea that you have received everything  should cause us to:

Be humble-What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”  1 Cor 4:7. Obviously, there is no point of boasting of what you were give. But the issue of pride is a heart problem.  A heart full of pride says, “I deserve it all”; it is all about my powers, my education, my investment, my talent.  It is “my” and “I” because it is all about me (not about others, not about God). Therefore, knowing the origin of what we have should cause us to be humble and only boast in God.  Pride slowly creeps into our hearts the moment we forget that all we are and have is by the favor of God.

Be Thankful- There is no better way to appreciate a gift that has been given to you other than by giving thanks. God has given us so much that we owe him lots of thanks. He has blessed us with all we need, both material and spiritual blessings. Through his power we are provided for- “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” 2 Pet 1:3. The thing we give back to God after receiving is a thankful heart.

Give praise – We praise him because he is the Giver of all good things; “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows Jas 1:17. This understanding should make us praise his name. The purpose of what has been received is for the magnification of his name.

We have many things to praise God for- salvation, life, healing just to name but a few. David in the Psalm 103:1-2 wrote, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. Has God satisfied your life with good things? Praise Him.

 Trust in the God of grace- – Grace has been defined as unmerited favor. To the question, “For what makes you different from anyone else? 1 Cor 4:7 I suggest it is the grace of God. God has given his grace to different people as he determines and as it pleases him. How special are you that God saved you and has not saved others? It is all by grace! It is not based on any merit. Every blessing we posses is a receive grace and gift from God; and if we desire something in life we should ask God, the one who gives us freely and generously.

Discover how rich we are- you can imagine how much you have received (physically and spirituall)from the Lord for the days you have lived under the sun. You are simply blessed!  As a child of God you have one spiritual blessing after another,  you have: forgiveness of sins, redemption, justification, sanctification, wisdom and understanding, Eph 1. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” 2 Cor 8:9. And so the poor should say “I am rich”, the sinner “I am forgiven”, and the weak “I am strong” because of what the Lord has done.

Love more– The fact that we have received all should challenge us to love (people and God) more.  In relation to God we are all debtors, “The more God has given the more we are in debt. Why should a man boast that he is deeper in debt than another?” However the debt we have should be that of love, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” Rom 13:8. Believers should not be like storage tanks to God’s blessings but vessels that convey the same blessings to others.

Give God glory– The understanding that God has given us all things should make us to give God all the glory. Because we realize it is not by our strength but by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm.  It is not by the chariots or horses but by the name of the Lord our God (Ps 20:7). Giving God glory involves acknowledging that it is not by my sword and my bow but by the power of the Lord Almighty (Ps 44:6). “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness” Ps 115:1. Let God be glorified.

6 WAYS THAT GOD HAS EQUIPPED YOU TO CARRY OUT HIS MISSION

It first begins by acknowledging that God has a mission and a purpose to be accomplished; and that this purpose does not begin today or yesterday but in eternity past. God has made his divine plans manifest through his written Word. It is vivid that his purpose/mission and desire is that ALL people come to know him. He desires all men to be saved. I see this purpose explicitly captured in two Bible passages.

The first passage, Jn 10:14-16 Jesus instructs- “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep knows me- just as the Father and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” NIV

The second passage: 1 Tim 2:3-6 reads, “This is good, and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” NASU

Quick things to note on the above passages: Jesus, the good shepherd, has knowledge of his sheep and the sheep know him. He’s laid down his life for the sheep (a fake shepherd would not attempt). He has other sheep that he still must also bring in (note that he also calls them his sheep for they will hear his voice).  There is hope for they will listen. Jesus’ purpose is to have one flock and one shepherd. In 1 Tim 2:3-6, God desires that all men to be saved (but it does not mean all will be saved). This salvation is about the knowledge of the truth that comes from one God and one mediator-Christ Jesus.

I know God works through many ways, for his ways are higher than our thoughts. But one way that we all know is that God uses his people. The good shepherd uses His sheep to accomplish his mission.  But since God knows that this purpose is greater and bigger than us, he has in a special way equipped you for the task. He has equipped you as an individual and collectively as a church for the mission. How has God equipped you to carry out his purpose?

God has given you (us):

  1. A message– We have been given a message, the word of truth, the gospel/ good news. It is a trustworthy message. It is a message that brings salvation to all men. The gospel is able to transform people into what God desires. It is a message that speaks freedom to the prisoners, healing to the sick, hope to the hopeless, comfort to the afflicted and peace a world without peace. It is a message that resonates to the core need of humanity: salvation. It is a message of faith, hope, and love.

Like the Amalekites (2 Kings 7:4) we would be guilt of the sin of silence if we hold back the good news to ourselves and let the world desperately perish. This message is about telling the world that we have one Mediator between God and man- Jesus Christ; and that only in Christ sins are forgiven. You have a divine message!

  1. An opportunity- We have numerous opportunities as individuals and as a church to make all know God/hear the voice of God. God presents us with opportunities to make exploits for him. Paul exhorted the saints at Ephesus to understand the will of the Lord (in this case, wanting all men to be saved) and make use of every opportunity because the times are evil-Eph 5:16. Opportunities are best seized. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work-Jn 9:4. God’s patience and tarrying in respect to parousia means an opportunity for sinners to repent. What opportunities has God presented to us to impact the community around us? What opportunities have we been blind to?
  2. A new identity in Christ- In order that God’s mission is accomplished God has given you a new identity when you were united with Christ. God’s unique mandate needs unique people. You union with Christ made you become- a child of God Jn 1:12, Christ’s friend (Jn 15:15), justified (Rom 5:1), free from condemnation (Rom 8:1), member of Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:27), saint (Eph 1:1), complete in Christ (Col 2:20), and a citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20). You now have a direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18).

Then, does it mean that this new identity is devoid of weaknesses, failures, flaws, limitations and imperfections? Absolutely no. God has power to turn them for his magnification; for his power is at work in you and through you!

This new identity comes with the responsibility to make disciples of all nations- bringing into the sheepfold the “other sheep”. In your new identity you are called to be- salt and light of the earth (Matt 5:13,14), a witness of Christ (Acts 1:8), chosen to bear fruit (Jn 15:16), and an ambassador for Christ 2Cor 5:20.

  1. Spiritual gifts– God has prepared you for his work by giving you a spiritual gift(s). He distributes different gifts (expression of grace) to different believers just as he determines. The purpose of the gift is to edify/built up the body of Christ /making him known. It is not for your selfish gain but for the benefit of others.

Read Rom 12:6-8 and 1Cor 12 to see the variety of these gifts, and guess what, it is not even conclusive! In the mission of God there is enough space and work for everyone.  Am told many Christians do not know their spiritual gifts- but what is the value or worth of an unopened gift?

Your spiritual gift has a special role in fulfilling God’s agenda!

  1. The Holy Spirit– What is the best gift you can give to someone important to you? (probably many answers here: flowers, objects, living-things, and whatever…) I have many times gone to gift shops to get some ideas but I sometimes still go ‘what other ideas do you have’.

The greatest gift God has given us is Himself. We have Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit; literally we have God.  His presence is with us, always. To the Israelites in the desert, his greatest gift was not manna but his enduring presence. Because of this promise, the psalmist expressed courage and confidence, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Ps 23:4. Jesus promises his disciples (us included) to be with them till the end of age Matt 28:20.

The Spirit of God lives in us, and is with us always. In the work that God has called us to do, remember he is your partner, For we are God’s fellow workers 1 Cor 3:9. Holy Spirit empowers believes in witnessing, Acts 1:8.

  1. Community of believers- God has equipped us by giving us the church; the church in its ministries also equips believers for service. God knows that you can’t do it alone and you can’t live in isolation and so he has prepared you a community of people called out of the world. You need a community so that you can know him more and make him known.

There are many passages that exhort us to a life shared together in a community- love one another (Jn 13:34), be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10), live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16), accept one another (Rom 15:7), greet one another, instruct one another, submit to one another, teach and admonish one another, encourage one another, do not slander one another, offer hospitality to one another, fellowship with one another and many more. The point is, the body of Christ, plays a key role to the life of a believer in the process of furthering God’s agenda.

Right from the beginning God’s mission has been to bring blessings to all humankind (can be traced through the covenants). And you are part of that divine plan. His mission and desire to reach all men, through his people, is not in futility for apostle John in his vision observed, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” Rev 7:9.