Why don’t people get along?
A Walk through Forgiveness coming up soon (in Kinyarwanda)
We live in a world full of pain and hurt. Some of the pain comes to us naturally while other forms of pain are inflicted on us by people we live with. The hurt is unavoidable as long as we live on this planet earth. I often think that the only option we have left is probably to get ready to be hurt and get ready to forgive at the same time. When the prophet Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, he foresaw him as a man of sorrows and forsaken, acquainted with pain (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus himself said that in this world we would have trouble but we should take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Our hope lies in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world! We are not doomed to fail. We are on the winning team because we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). It is easy to loose heart and give up in this crumbling and fallen world. It is one thing to sing hope, quote the scriptures about hope but it is a whole another thing to go through deep pain and still trust that God is truly with you. It becomes even harder to forgive the person who hurt you, especially when he/she did it knowingly and willingly.
When our hope is truly grounded in God and not in the world, we have a solid foundation to forgive. We forgive people because we are fully convinced that we are loved by God. We forgive because we know that God is for us and if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31). Our offender can’t separate us from God’s love. God knows our pain and can give us strength to endure it. His love does not guarantee that we will never go through pain but it guarantees that He will be with us when we pass through the fire or deep waters (Isaiah 43: 2). The inevitability of pain and the hope in God are used in this book as the introductory setting leading to the ultimate question, “Why don’t people get along?”
The first time I was asked this question, I explored several related questions: Why parents and children don’t get along? Why coworkers or schoolmates don’t get along? Why a wife and a husband don’t get along? Why people serving in the same church don’t get along? Why people of a particular geographic region don’t get along? Why Rwandans in particular don’t get along? In an attempt to answer that central question, I focused on three sub-questions involving parents & children, co-workers, husband and wife and extensively discussed the common fights and dilemma among Rwandan people. Since the primary audience is Kinyarwanda- speaking people, I used a number of long proverbs and common sayings that would help convey the message to the audience, with Bible texts as the primary resource. In order to answer the lack of harmony between Rwandans, I conducted a survey about the question “Why don’t people get along?”. Then, I analyzed and discussed the most occurring responses from over 100 respondents, primarily Rwandans living in different parts of the world.
Following the interpretation of the results, I suggest forgiveness as a possible way to manage pain and get along with the person who hurt you. I start the chapter on forgiveness by defining what forgiveness is not vs. what forgiveness is. Then I extensively discuss three main steps of forgiveness: Knowing yourself, Knowing God’s forgiving heart, and knowing your enemy. I argue that the three steps appear to be indispensable in achieving the forgiveness process. The discussion on this topic involves a biblical teaching interwoven with cultural stories, sayings and proverbs. It should be noted that many names mentioned in this book are not real names. While I illustrated real stories and life experience, I significantly modified stories and changed names of people and places for the privacy of the parties involved.
It is my hope that this book will help the reader to discover what I call the pearls of forgiveness and help past enemies to get along.
Faustin Uzabakiliho, Ph.D.
Exodus Vision, president
Sun Valley, California
January 3, 2016