I danced with 200+ inmates last night--all convicted of genocide related crimes. Most of these people would be considered mass murderers. A sweet older lady named Margaret took my hand, and as they sang and danced and pledged allegiance to Rwanda, she taught me her moves. I hate to dance... so this was definitely a hilarious sight. None-the-less, I was honored to be in the middle. I was honored to hold her hand. I was honored to see a glimpse of her heart.
Today I read from the Sermon on the Mount. I was reading Matthew 5:43 about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you. Verse 45 says, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
When I think about prison, about crime, about murder, my human heart doesn't want to offer grace. Why should one deserve to live when another dies? Why should one get wiped clean when then other will never have a second chance?
After we danced, I spoke with Margaret. She spoke no english. (Also a hilarious sight in which I yelled for a good couple of minutes for someone to come translate.) Margaret will be released in May for the first time in 16 years. I didn't ask her her crime. I could see in her eyes she was free. She will go home to her 6 children, and by now, many grandchildren. Her oldest is 30. As we stood there and spoke, she took off her necklace and gave it me. I thought about what I could give her. A pair of earrings was all I had on me. A present from an old roommate. I was reluctant. Probably my selfishness.
I walked back over to Margaret, and took out my first earring. She reached up and took out the earring she was wearing. As I placed my earring on her ear, it felt symbolic, almost ceremonial.
I wonder if that's how Jesus feels when He washes us clean. No condemnation. No, "I realize you screwed up, but here you go anyway." He's forgotten our sin all together.
Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute. He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on all of us. We've all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. He doesn't care. He reaches up, takes out the old dingy earring, and replaces it with the new.
Tomorrow we are off to chase a story several hours away from Kigali. We will probably be gone from the city for a few days. I'm still feeling pretty weak with a cold/flu. Spent most of the day in bed. Pray for quick healing, for the guys not to catch this, and for protection as we drive.
Also, we're down to the wire. We have a great idea, but we need to find this man who doesn't have a phone and is a wondering farmer. Will you pray that we find him.
One last thing. We are finalizing our interview with President Kagame tomorrow. Pray for Joseph. The Rwandan man who has helped us every step of the way. He is our connection to EVERYTHING. Pray for wisdom in his words as he sets up all of the details of this week.