Rwanda, Burundi expel Human Rights Watch workers in crackdown on criticism ahead of elections

Today’s news reports that “Rwanda, Burundi expel Human Rights Watch workers in crackdown on criticism ahead of elections.”

As many of you know, Jenn and I have spent some good time in Rwanda. This country that is near to our hearts, and its neighbor Burundi, both have their second elections since their genocides in the 1990s, which is raising a few concerns. See today’s Associated Press story for more. This news is not a good sign. Let’s be in prayer for those in Rwanda and Burundi as they prepare for the elections.

God has committed to us the message of reconciliation

Friday night found Jennifer and I at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, for their fourth Civil Forum, which Pastor Rick Warren said is a time to discuss, “civility and living civilized in our civilization.” The topic this Friday was about reconciliation, with two special guests–Professor Miroslav Volf and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

It was a treat to be in the presence of Professor Volf and President Kagame and to hear their messages of hope for their countries. Let’s be in prayer for Volf’s home nation of Croatia and Kagame’s nation of Rwanda, that both would lead the world in what it looks like to bring reconciliation to groups of people with immense hatred. May the Church in these countries, and in our own, carry out the Apostle Paul’s words in his second letter to the Corinthians:

“Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:14-20).

Paul’s words highlight the main thing I came away with from Friday’s event–the great difficulty in reconciling people together in nations worldwide is that one side in conflict has to let go. In the Christian realm, both sides must let go and realize that it is only in letting go that they can find healing, a healing that Paul emphasizes above was the reason that Jesus came.

Book suggestion–if you have the ability, I’d highly recommend Volf’s book Exclusion and Embrace or any of his other books.