The Heart of Man

Last week I visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial site in Kigali town and got to understand the extent and the heartbreaking background of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In this site were buried about 250, 000 people who died in the 1994 genocide that claimed over 1,000, 000 people in about 100 days. In our (my guide/friend and I) tour around the busy facility, I could observe many people who were overcome by emotions and breaking down in tears. Their painful memories (of the death of their loved ones at their helpless watch, rape, murder, deportation, untold injustices and inhuman activities) are still fresh in their minds. Their wounds are still in the process of healing two decades later.

The whole experience reminded me of several truths from the Bible that I want to share.

  1. The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9)- The issue of murder, of the minority Tutsi by the majority and ‘powerful’ Hutu in Rwandan genocide story, is not a Rwandan problem but a human problem. We are not unaware of other genocides that have happened in human history and in different parts of the world. The problem is a heart-problem. Naturally, the heart of man is unrighteous, full of hatred, division, and wickedness.

Apostle Paul quoted several scriptures in Romans 3:13-18 to show the vileness of the component parts of the whole of human nature, “their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God in their eyes.” In short, all men are sinners and man’s inner being is controlled by sin. And the inclination of man’s heart to evil is evident in our world today.

  1. The danger of words– The genocide in Rwanda like many other genocides and violence was inflamed by propaganda, verbal abuses, ethnic prejudices, messages full of hate and animosity, as well as broadcasts that degrade other tribes or people groups. Words, like fire, have power to destroy if not contained.

Apostle James wrote, “the tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body” (Jas. 3:6). He adds that the tongue “is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas. 3:8). The mouth speaks the contents of the heart; “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34); “Can a fig-tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water” (Jas. 3:12).

  1. The role of justice in healing– For true healing to occur, justice has to be pursued. The planners, sponsors, and perpetrators of war, whether direct or indirectly, needs to be pursued and be held responsible for their actions. This is the path that Rwanda also took.

God is a God of justice and judgment; “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24.

  1. The power of truth, forgiveness, and reconciliation– For two decades, Rwandans have been rebuilding lives and healing their wounds. This has happened through open confessions by the perpetrators on their role in the war and more importantly asking for forgiveness. This has hugely contributed to the healing of the nation and in developing harmonious relationships. It is said that time heals, but that may not be actually true; forgiveness heals.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus charges us to reciprocate forgiveness we have received, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Matt. 6:12. The message of forgiveness is a message of love and acceptance. In addition, God has given us the ministry of reconciliation; reconciling men to God through Christ (2 Cor. 5:18). The heart-problem needs a Mediator/ Reconciler between man and God, who is Jesus Christ. And the church/Christians are called to be ambassadors of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation.

  1. God is doing a new thing– In the words of Apostle Paul, God’s people had long been, “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9). The problems that many people here have gone through has not eclipsed their hope in Christ. You could see this hope alive in their churches services and in individual testimonies. God is using his church and the cross to bring about unity, healing, reconciliation and community transformation. God has also given the people of Rwanda political leaders that are committed at bringing people together. Evidently, God is at work transforming his people into the likeness of Christ.

#God Bless Rwanda.

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HOW CAN I REPAY THE LORD FOR ALL HIS GOODNESS TO ME? HERE ARE 4 WAYS

 

The-Goodness-of-God

God is at work each and every time and season of our lives. He works in ways that are seen and in ways that are not seen. Round the clock, He is accomplishing many things for his chosen ones for his name sake; and his actions toward us are motivated by agape love.

Everything we have has been received from Him. The salvation we have belongs to God. He is the source of every good and perfect gift (Jas. 1:17); he fills our lives and satisfies our desires with good things.

And so because of the many good things that God has done to/for us how can we repay/thank Him, how can we respond to his graces and providence, how can we thank him enough? (if that were possible). The psalmist (in Psalm 116:12) communes with his own heart on this question and here are few suggestions from the Psalter:

  1. Fulfill the vows you made to God- Perhaps in your dark moments you promised to do something when/if God delivered you. You may have made a vow when you were sick, desperate, unemployed, in distress, or needed a sort of deliverance, breakthrough or promotion. Then the unbelievable happened through God’s intervention. You got healed, you got a job/promotion, or your business started picking up; or simply put, you became delivered from your ‘enemies’ and fears. The best thing to do is to remember to fulfill the verbal commitments you made to the Lord. The Lord commands, When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said (Num. 30:2).
  1. Live a godly Life- Has God done so much to you that you wonder how to thank Him?. Offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- as your spiritual act of worship (Rom 12:1-2). Thank Him by living a godly life. It is what pleases him.

You cannot thank God if you are deliberately living in sin. To love God is to obey his commandments. Again, to love God is to live as Jesus lived. Lips and words can be deceptive but a life lived in honor of God is powerful and is in itself a thanksgiving. Such a godly life radiates thankfulness for the cross, forgiveness, eternal life, redemption, and the hope of glory. When you live a holy life in thankfulness for what God has done, you make Him glorified (Matt. 5:16); because even pagans will marvel and exclaim, “Where can we find such a man that the spirit of God lives in” (Gen. 41:38).

  1. Give Generously– When you have generously received what you asked of the Lord, remember to be a giver. Don’t be like a tank, harboring/ hoarding God’s blessings to yourself. Choose to be a vessel that passes on what has been received. A grateful heart gives. You give out what you are and what you have for the benefit of others. Put it differently, by giving, you make what you have received a tool for service rather than an idol of worship. Giving is a form of service to God. Here are reasons and excuses people give in regard to service and thanksgiving. And so repay the Lord with a heart of generosity. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15, 16). Giving generously is one way of saying “thank you God”.
  1. Declare His name– Having tasted of the goodness of the Lord, you ought to invite others to come to the living waters where they can eat and drink without money and without cost (Isa. 55:1-2). Declare what God has accomplished in and through your life. Let the world know that the life-stories  posses are His story. Make the world know the source of your help, joy, peace and salvation. Let the world know that in Jesus there is a healer, provider, sanctifier, deliverer, redeemer, savior, hope and eternal life. Give glory to whom it is due. Lift up the name of the Lord. Decrease as He increases (Jn. 3:30). By showing people where to find the living water and the bread of life, you magnify the Lord for his goodness.