As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda

by Catherine Claire Larson
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As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson

Inspired by the award-winning film of the same name.If you were told that a murderer was to be released into your neighborhood, how would you feel? But what if it weren’t only one, but thousands?Could there be a common roadmap to reconciliation? Could there be a shared future after unthinkable evil? If forgiveness is possible after the slaughter of nearly a million in a hundred days in Rwanda, then today, more than ever, we owe it to humanity to explore how one country is addressing perceptual, social-psychological, and spiritual dimensions to achieve a more lasting peace. If forgiveness is possible after genocide, then perhaps there is hope for the comparably smaller rifts that plague our relationships, our communities, and our nation. Based on personal interviews and thorough research, As We Forgive returns to the boundary lines of genocide’s wounds and traces the route of reconciliation in the lives of Rwandans—victims, widows, orphans, and perpetrators—whose past and future intersect. We find in these stories how suffering, memory, and identity set up roadblocks to forgiveness, while mediation, truth-telling, restitution, and interdependence create bridges to healing. As We Forgive explores the pain, the mystery, and the hope through seven compelling stories of those who have made this journey toward reconciliation. The result is a narrative that breathes with humanity and is as haunting as it is hopeful.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310560296
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 05/26/2009
Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 651,564
File size: 954 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Catherine Claire Larson is a senior writer and editor of Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint. With a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in theological studies, Larson hopes to give voice to Rwandans who are involved in one of the most closely watched experiments in forgiveness in our world today.

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As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book compiles personal narratives of individuals who survived the horrible Rwandan genocide. The stories are not only of the survivors, but of the perpetrators as well. The organized efforts this country made to bring healing to people in both groups is so inspiring, it's almost incredible. The book includes research and commentary on the process of forgiveness and reconciliation from well-known professionals in this field.
Jason_A_Greer More than 1 year ago
What does forgiveness really look like? How can you forgive someone who seemingly took everything away that made life worth living: family, homes, and trust? What kind of power is it that can look someone who has hurt you in the deepest way, and forgive them? This is what As We Forgive is about, specifically how do Rwandan survivors of the 1994 genocide forgive those who broke into their homes, chased them down in the wild and sought to wipe them out. The 1994 Rwandan genocide, where Hutu attacked and murdered over 800,000 Tutsi's is hard to fathom in its brutality and suddenness. Larson, on staff with Prison Fellowship Ministries, writes of a defined process that leads to genocide and in reverse, of a process that leads forgiveness. She has focused on seven specific individuals, in three chapter segments, to tell an arc of a story from before, during, and after the genocide. The three chapter segments are broken up by seven interlude chapters that reflect on what the real applications of forgiveness, comfort, and what repairing broken relationships looks like. By telling personal stories in an engaging writing style, Larson does a fine job of taking the reader from the abstract to the very real and personal. She only introduces the political issues that motivated the genocide, and steps out of the way to tell of very human stories of brutality and in return peace and reconciliation. The writing is never explicit when stories of the genocidal acts are told, but they are hard to read, especially when old neighbors and friends turn on each other. There are times after reading an especially difficult passage, I had to put aside the book for a day or so, because of the sheer horror involved. At the same time, reading of murderers reaching out to assist in rebuilding their victims lives, local justice that seeks to restore and not retribution, and victims seeking to point those that did so much evil to Christ is earth shaking in its own right. Larson identifies eight steps that genocidal groups take to strip their victims of their humanity. By telling seven stories of reconciliation, forgiveness, she contrasts man's kingdom versus God's. The final step of genocide is denial. With powerful stories of reconciliation, she tells stories of truth that re-humanize victim and perpetrator alike. As We Forgive needs to read as a testament to a group of people who are changed by otherworldly power, in the hope that the same power that saved them from an ongoing spiral of evil will do wonders around the world.
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AuthorMaryDeMuth More than 1 year ago
As We Forgive by Catherine Claire Larson is one of those life-changing books that will linger with you the rest of your life. It's not for the fainthearted. It's not for the hard-hearted or those bent toward stubborn unforgiveness. It's primarily a story of hope. During 100 days of 1994 800,000 people were brutally murdered in Rwanda-a genocide swifter in execution than Nazi gas chambers. Imagine Denver and Colorado Springs-every man, woman and child-suddenly gone from our population and you'll appreciate the scope of the horror. (And go look on a map of Africa. Trace your finger due South of Uganda, due West of the Congo and you'll appreciate how little this country is.) As We Forgive shares the stories of genocide survivors, recounting the unspeakable. But it does not stop there. Larson pulls back the curtain of the most ostentatious acts of forgiveness I've witnessed, where genocide survivors choose to forgive those who perpetrated such violence. Together, through reconciliation practices and restorative justice, they are rebuilding their country from the ruins of hatred-all on the back of the One who still bears the scars for our sins today. I came away from this book changed, deeply moved, and inspired. Having seen the power of God to help people forgive the seeming unforgiveable, it gave me hope that my own wrestling with forgiveness would end in hope. I also appreciated that none of the forgiveness modeled was simple or easy or quickly won, nor does the book purport that reconciliation is merely forgiveness while forgetting. For true restoration to occur, the person perpetrating the atrocity must first fully own his/her own sin and grieve it as such. And for the person who was sinned against to heal, he/she must revisit the place of grief in order to heal. All this dovetails beautifully into the message God's been birthing in me-to help people who suffer silently to tell the truth about their pasts, to choose the difficult path of forgiveness, in order to heal. If God can reach into a genocide victim's heart and offer peace; if He can transform a murderer into a productive member of a reconciled society; then surely He can transform your pain today. That's the patent hope this book gives. It's a gift to all of us. And I pray it's a gift all open.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago