Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reconciliation and Forgiveness

A couple weeks ago, we were invited to the home of a family from our church. They live in a nearby settlement, in an area called Biwat Compound. They invited us to come so that we could witness a reconciliation ceremony.

For the last 2 years or so, the father of this family, Andrew, has not spoken to his brother, who also lives in Biwat, just a few seconds walk away. We do not know all the details, except to say that they had a major disagreement and as a result, Andrew's brother retaliated by burning their house down. And since then, none of the family members have spoken to each other, even though they would often pass right by each other. Over the 2 years, Andrew and his wife Agnes did try to settle the issue that was separating the families, but Andrew’s brother was not willing to consider this. The amazing thing was that Andrew and Agnes were wronged when the disagreement arose and yet they were the ones seeking reconciliation.

And eventually Andrew’s brother agreed that it was time for the feud to come to an end. And so we found ourselves in Biwat on a Saturday afternoon to witness reconciliation between these two brothers and their families. We were there along with almost the whole Biwat community, since most of them are somehow related to Andrew and his brother.

(Can you imagine living in close proximity with ALL of your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, children, cousins, second cousins, etc.??! It’s no wonder that tension arises from time to time…)

What we witnessed that day was very moving. A leader in the community started off by announcing that what happened between them is in the past and that it is not to be talked about anymore. Then Andrew and his brother, their wives and the closest relatives, formed a tight circle, as you can see in the photo.

Andrew’s brother spoke first, and with tears in his eyes, told Andrew that he was sorry. Then they all went around hugging each other and shaking hands. Andrew and his brother shared a long embrace.

Ian closed the time with prayer, asking for God’s blessings over the families and praying that true peace would reign—the peace of Jesus Christ. Not only today, the day of the ceremony, but also in the days, weeks and years to come. We do praise God for restoring peace between these brothers and their families. We pray that as they made peace with each other, the Lord also used this to bring them closer to Him.

Here's Viviene, who will soon officially become a member of our church and was also there that day, with her cute little neice.


Kim said...

Ian and Nad...
Thank you for sharing that!
Jesus is peace! What a testimony!

Allan and Alice Buist/Plug said...

That is an example to us, I think - public reconciliations would be very beneficial in the proud western world...
We love you!

Mike & Alina Noot said...

What an amazing story -- and I'm sure it was very moving to witness the occasion.
Hope you are all doing well out there. I'm sure you're looking forward to your visitors soon :-)
Take care,