Reconciliation is hard, isn’t it? And reconciliation is hard enough when you’re talking about people who love each other. But when you’re talking about enemies? It’s that much harder.

Even if you are a bit fuzzy on the details, many of you may remember the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. It’s estimated that in 100 days, the Hutu people living in Rwanda killed approximately 800,000 of the Tutsi people. 800,000 men, women and children killed in 100 days. Can you imagine?

20 years later, in 2014 a photographer named Pieter Hugo traveled to southern Rwanda and captured a series photos that might seem incomprehensible to you and me. In one, a woman rests her hand on the shoulder of the man who killed her father and brothers. In another, a woman poses with a casually reclining man who looted her property and whose father helped murder her husband and children. In many of these photos, there is little evident warmth between the pairs, and yet there they are, together. In each, the perpetrator is a Hutu who was granted pardon by the Tutsi survivor of his crime. [1]

It's one thing to reconcile with a spouse after a time of marital unrest. It’s one thing to reconcile with any loved one or family member after an argument. But to reconcile with someone who killed your father and brothers? With someone who looted your property? In some cases, with someone who raped and murdered your loved ones? That sounds almost unthinkable. And yet, in each one of Pieter Hugo’s photos, you see a perpetrator and survivor standing side by side. The photos are powerful to say the least.

This Sunday at Living Shepherd, we’ll continue walking through the book of Romans. As we do, this week we’ll have a chance to marvel at the amazing truth, that “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him” none the less! (See Romans 5:6-11)

I look forward to digging into the powerful truth of reconciliation with you this Sunday!

Pastor Z.


[1] Susan Dominus.