Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Rwandan Woman Reconciled to Enemy

In the mid-1990s, Hutu extremists killed between 800,000 and 1 million people in Rwanda. Fourteen years later, the many men and women who experienced devastating loss are still trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Some have even gone the extra mile toward being reconciled to those they once called enemies.

Consider Iphigenia Mukantabana. In 1994, her husband and five of her children were beaten to death by a group of Hutus. One of the killers was Jean-Bosco Bizimana. Bizimana was eventually caught by authorities and served seven years in prison. Because he was considered a lower-level criminal—someone who didn't engage in the most egregious acts of the nation-wide genocide—he was allowed the opportunity to publicly confess his crimes and ask for forgiveness from both the nation and the families he wronged. In return, he was set free.

But Bizimana's liberation had just begun. Four years later, Iphigenia Mukantabana approached Bizimana and his wife about reconciliation. Reflecting on the gesture of grace offered to her past enemy and his family, Mukantabana says, "In my heart, the dead are dead, and they cannot come back again. So I have to get on with the others and forget what has happened." In an interview with CNN, she admitted that she never could have done it without opening her heart to the idea of forgiveness. She also added: "I am a Christian, and I pray a lot." Today, the two families share meals together.

"It has not just helped me," says Mukantabana, "it has helped all Rwandans, because someone comes and accepts what he did and he asks for forgiveness from the whole community—from all Rwandans." And it has surely helped all Rwandans to see a widow come and accept a broken man in the name of Christ.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Son's Killer Becomes Mother's Son

In his book Hidden in Plain Sight, author and pastor Mark Buchanan writes about a woman named Regine. Originally from Rwanda, Regine came to Christ while reading her sister's Bible ...

[Read More]

Story of Forgiven Drunk Driver Moves Beth Moore

In her book Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit, author and speaker Beth Moore recalls a particularly insightful moment in her life:

I will never forget watching ...
[Read More]