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Forgiving Does Not mean FORGETTING

Updated on September 3, 2014

“Darkness TO LIGHT” An Evening with RWANDAN FRIENDS

“Darkness TO LIGHT”


First, a little background history on Rwanda. Rwanda was comprised of three tribes when the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916. The Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. The Belgians manipulated and divided the tribes by deeming one more superior than the other. They then issued them identity cards stating their appointed tribe. The Tutsis were discriminately favored and given better jobs as well as superior educational opportunities.

This division caused further animosity and bitterness. Eventually in 1962 after Rwanda was granted independence, the majority of Hutus took power. After the death of the president of Rwanda in 1994 the horrific genocide began. His plane was shot down and shortly after recruits were disbursed and the atrocious, vigorous brutal slaughtering of Rwandans went on for approximately 100 days.

If someone has hurt you deeply, if you have been carrying hatred in your heart. If you have been abused, molested, rejected, humiliated, deceived, maligned, called names, persecuted, lied on or feel shame give up the bitterness! If you are unable to forgive or you feel that you have been wronged or mistreated. If life does not seem to be going your way. I want you to take some time and ponder on what happened here in Rwanda. You will find out that “With God ALL things are possible.” Begin to go forward in your life KNOWING GOD LOVES YOU! He will never leave nor forsake you! He has a plan for your life! START TODAY GOING FORWARD!!!

Now I want to take some time and share with you what they shared with me.

We had such a memorable, extraordinary, marvelous evening with our Rwandan friends from PHARP –Rwanda. Pastor Anastase, Marie Louise, Julienne and Pastor Protais worked effortlessly as a team. PHARP stands for Peace building, Healing, and Reconciliation Program in Rwanda. They openly and sincerely shared in graphic detail their heart wrenching experiences during the Rwandan Genocide. It is now reported that there were actually closer to 2,000,000 lives brutally taken during the 100 days of the Rwandan Genocide! We will be forever grateful for the experience . Our son Jamal along with the Horizon Community Church were able to actually go to Rwanda and minister to them. They forged ahead diligently amidst the transitioning community of Rwanda to help facilitate their mission to bring about healing, restoration and reconciliation. Pastor Anastase can be reached

During the 100 days of genocide between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped. More than 67% of those women were purposely and systematically infected by HIV+ men as a weapon of genocide. One Pastor shared how his wife, children, and mother along with a total of 46 relatives were massacred. He had to hide out in the swamp for 41 days without food. He only had contaminated swamp water to sip.

Despite the often assumed stereotype keep in mind, generally most "people of color" do not seek revenge! It is far better and superior to SEEK GOD!

Please stay with me for a few minutes and ponder these facts in your heart! Here are a few more of the many statistics resulting from the aftermath of the genocide:

*There are 300,000 to 400,000 survivors of the genocide.

*Nearly 100,000 survivors are aged between 14 and 21, of which 60,000 are considered as very vulnerable.

*75,000 of survivors were orphaned as a result of the genocide. Over half of these children have become impoverished, traumatized and have stopped going to school.

*There are 10 times as many widows than widowers – almost 50,000 widows of the genocide.

*40,000 are still without shelter.

*7 in 10 survivors earn a monthly income of less than 5,000 Rwandan Francs, which equals to $8.00 in American Dollars.

*These statistics are complied at

The Rwanda genocide was real! Thousands of homeless and orphaned children. Yet these children of God stand tall, firmly and purposely in their concerted efforts to bring about the ongoing process of “Forgiveness and Reconciliation.” They have come here to America to share a powerful message. The Country of Rwanda is in the continual much needed ongoing process of healing and restoration. Many of those who participated in the genocide have been released from prison and are now back in the community. Many have accepted Jesus Christ. Today there are no longer identity cards they are all called Rwandans! They are committed to moving forward in overcoming the barriers of the past.

This dedicated team, along with many others are dedicated to assisting and empowering the remaining Rwandans. This is not without its challenges. Keep in mind that within the Church there, many pastors face the dilemma of having survivors and those perpetrators of genocide within the same congregation. They are diligently working to make a difference. They are reaching out and helping to rebuild a country that has been devastated. Trauma Counseling and healing, peace building, reconciliation, self-help groups, youth programs and vocational training and income generating projects are inclusive along with much prayer, worship and praise! We support, pray for and solicit your prayers for all Rwandans as well.

It is important to know that the family of God consists of a plethora of people throughout the world. We all come in different sizes, shapes, colors, races and cultures. There is not going to be a corner in heaven that’s designated for Blacks, one for Whites, one for Reds, Browns, Yellow or multicolored people. It goes so much deeper than the color of one’s skin, how they look, who they are, where they have lived, what one has or does not have nor their varied diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions. God knows who His children are.

It is important to know that God is alone Sovereign! He does not need us! We all need Him! He places and arranges the members in the Body of His Universal Church as it pleases Him. He knows where each and every one of us are in our spiritual growth and development. He has given us the necessary talents and gifts to accomplish whatever He has created us to do. In many situations in the Church here in America, on various levels worldly methods have been adopted. The ways and methods of the world’s reasoning and social divisiveness has resulted in much division. Manipulation has been erroneously embraced by many of God’s people.

It is very important to know the Word of God firsthand. We as His “children” are to consistently spend time with the Lord developing a vivacious strong ongoing, endearing ever growing transparent relationship with Him and come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! This way you will not be “tossed to and fro by every of doctrine.” You do not have to strive to control or dominate anyone. This only displays and reflects one’s own insecurity. Quite the contrary. God is ultimately in control! Jesus led by example. Our purpose is to daily live out God’s principles and foster a desire in others to want to come and know Jesus as Lord and Savior as well. Ultimately it is your solid, committed relationship with Him, that will sustain you as you go through any of life’s many challenges.

In spite of all that has happened to them, these Rwandan’s have come to share their “Mission of FORGIVENESS & RECONCILIATION” of genocide! To impart the valuable knowledge they’ve learned. Webster defines forgiveness as: to give up resentment of, or claim requital ; forgive an insult . They know the value of confronting the truth of whatever has happened. Contrary to what is often said forgiveness does not mean you forget. It means to lay aside any ill will and pardon the wrong that was done. When people have wronged you they often feel guilt and fear retaliation. The Fruit of God’s Spirit will flourish in your life when you elect to embrace and implement His principles in your life. True forgiveness comes from God. Joy & Peace are by products of His Fruit! Knowing the Lord, having a relationship with Him and applying His Word makes all the difference in the world.

Through their heartfelt sharing our love, faith, trust in God, and our commitment has been greatly enhanced. It has personally added to my spiritual wellspring. They are truly walking in the “Light of His Word.” As a child of God I know whole heartedly that God is able! Being a Christian is a lifestyle. It is amazing to know and realize that absolutely nothing goes on with anyone or anywhere that God is not aware of. The Rwandan genocide is mind boggling. In our little finite minds we will never fully comprehend the “why” of a lot of things. But I do know that ALL His WORD is true. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (and sisters) … Romans 8. God did not say that it all would be good. But, He did say that He would work it out for good. Ask yourself? Is your purpose really His purpose?

The eyewitness account of the Rwandan genocide was enlightening and life changing. Their God given joy was evident and shined forth from their countenance as they each shared their amazing testimonies. They without question, are definitely walking in the “Light of His Word.” They truly have come from “Darkness TO LIGHT.” They reached out, above and beyond what they had suffered and shared a wealthy message of wisdom, inspiration, encouragement and hope to bring about healing. It is quite evident that God has equipped them to help others overcome barriers, to unite and reach out to build peaceful communities for the future. Not only in Rwanda but throughout the world! “Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5 The POWER of GOD was evident beyond words! I can go on ….. ""But instead I will say; PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! FOREVER & EVER "TO GOD BE THE GLORY!"


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    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      7 years ago

      Dolores Monet, So glad that you were inspired. It shows what a wonderful compassionate person you are... I must say I was more than impressed as they gave their heartfelt sincere testimonies! And Yes their strength, perserverance, resilience and Faith are incredible!

      Thank you for stopping by to share! In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! GOD BLESS YOU!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      It seems incredible to me that these poor people who suffered so much are so able to forgive. It is only through the grace of God that they can do so. Their faith must give them so much strength - what an inspirational hub!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      7 years ago

      JustcallmeLeroy, True! There are some things that take place in life that we will never quite understand?

      When a heart is not reconciled to GOD it is subject to do anything... This is why we must fervently proclaim the difference truly having the Lord in your life makes! THANK GOD for JESUS! It is not the same thing as "knowing" of HIM! Many continue disrepect and undermine HIS authority in regards to abortion which in itself is genocide...

      We must continue to pray that the Lord opens the hearts of those who do not value HIS principles for life and living... Time is of the essence "JESUS is coming soon!

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share. In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You my brother in the Lord!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      DeBorrah, Yes there are times in life when it does not seem real. We can never understand why. The Heart of man is desperately wicked. That will never change until that Wonderful day of the Lord. We find a even more terrible crime within this country that our leaders have contributed to abortion never stops and The Heart of Man is still desperately wicked. God Bless you My Wonderful Sister.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Stars439, You are welcome! It is very unfortunate the thousands of lives that was lost... It was wonderful to hear that so many of the surviors are being healed and working very hard towards restoring their lives. What was so amazing was the inner strength that they were able to discover within. The Lord has given them a wonderful "Mission" of restoration and reconciliation!

      This is an excellent example showing how the Lord makes all the difference in the world when it comes to inner healing under such tragic circumstances... I hope you were encouraged!

      Thank you for stopping and sharing your comments! In His love, Peace & Blessings!

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Thank you for a wonderful account of what happened and why. Hate is such a devastating thing when it is way out of hand. So many lives were lost. God will help the survivors heal from the horror of it all. God Bless You Dear Heart.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Shervy, My heart is touched by your confirmation and presence! It is a blessing to have you confirm the truth of what is going on in Rwanda! I will gladly visit your hub... Thank you for visiting and sharing! Please do come again! In His love Peace & Blessings!

    • shervy profile image


      8 years ago from Kigali,Rwanda

      Hello Deborrah, I live in todays Rwanda, I like your hub. I have written a hub on the changing Rwanda, I would like to invite you to read and comment on the Same.

      again i really like you hub.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Dreamer32, It really is sad... But what is so beautiful is the sincere efforts of those who are working towards reconciliation! It is unexplainable the level of forgiveness they have attained. They most definitely have acquired some skills in the area of forgiveness that are so very inspiring, there is much to learn from them.

      Thank you for taking the time share and visit, Blessings!

    • dreamer32 profile image


      8 years ago from Mississippi

      I really agree in what you say. It's very sad in what happened about the genocide in Rwanda. I beleive that forgive, but doesn't mean forget. I wrote in article on my blog concerning this issue that so many people debate about this subject.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Skye2day! It is always so wonderful to hear from you! Yes you are so right! This really is quite "gripping" as you say...

      It makes one stand up to attention and really THINK! It is really quite horrifying to put it at best!

      However what was so uplifting was their willingness for some to want to go forward and press on toward forgiveness which is necessary for their inner healing ... This is why I say "forgiving does not mean forgetting" what has been done can not be undone! But one must ask where do we go from here and how?

      There is certainly much to learn from here. How low one sinks and to what extreme degrees that they can mistreat another human boggles my mind! This is true it is not a fable! Lord Help us!

      Now broadcasted daily on the news we see the people of HAITI in disarray and confusion. They need our prayers, love and support as well... Whatever is going on about us we can see it could be worst... Therefore we PRAISE GOD for who HE is and seek HIS direction daily. "Give us today our daily BREAD..." The news media does not mention GOD! But I have seen clips of some of the people of HAITI Praising God in spite of this...

      You are quite welcome! Thank you as always for visiting and sharing your sincere and hearfelt comments. You are such a dear and genuine child of the Lord! Be encouraged! May His PEACE and FAVOR rest upon you! In His Love, Hugs to you as well! Praise God we are in HIS HANDS regardless of what is happening...! Blessings!

    • skye2day profile image


      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Greetings Debborrah, I have missed you. This hub is wow, gripping. I have seen the movie. I read a story then I saw the woman on TV. She hid in a bathroom for 81 days with 5 other woman. No food. The other woman died. She had a Bible, an English Pastor gave her. She learned the English language in the very small, teeny bathroom. She now travels and ministers to others. Her story is riveting and miracoulous.

      Your hub is touching and a big wake up. Your writing is moving and powerful. I thank God for the gifts he has blessed me with. There are terrible, evil things going on in all the 'WORLD' today. I hope the savior returns soon. We have much work to do Debborah.

      The last few days the Haiti Earthquake has been top in news. It is very sad. I pray many will come to Christ. One day there will be no more tears or suffering. My heart has hurt the last few days for the suffering. I have not heard the name 'GOD' from maybe one 'news' person on tv. I hear lucky person, but no God. It makes me sad. I pray for this country. My prayer list keeps growing.

      Thank you for a reality check and sharing the Good News. Our Lord and Savior are our hope and victory. By Faith we know we will rise above. He is for us and not against us.

      Love Ya, Hugs

      + + +

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago


      You are so right about "releasing the pain in a constructive way." I agree this is what helps to bring about wholeness and healing. It also releases the weight of unforgiveness.


      Judah's daughter,

      Always remember that the enemy is "an accuser of the brethern" and does not want you to "Stand Free in the Liberty that Christ has set you free and not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

      Always know the Lord knows your heart and your sincere intentions. So I say HALLELUJAH ANYHOW!

      Thank You for visiting again


      Sir Dent,

      I am most appreciative. Any and all your comments are welcomed. Thank you and come again!


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Judah's Daughter,

      I can relate about finding words. Because I really did not know where to start. I had to be prayerful because I did not want to undermine in any way the unspeakable atrocities that they experienced in Rwanda.

      Yet, I too wanted to share the remarkable perseverance and teamwork it took and continues to take for them to forge ahead. Despite of the numerous challenges they continue to move forward.

      In reading this it was my prayer that one would have compassion and yes, be able to begin to move toward wholeness rather than hold on to the

      bitterness of their own hurtful experiences. Acknowledge them yes! But to not allow the bitterness to continue to fester which will eventually destroy them as well.

      This is why I say

      "forgiving does not mean forgetting." You choose to no longer remain a prisoner of the pain they inflicted on you.

      We do not want to forget that Jesus Christ suffered on the cross. The beauty of it was that He said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

      You are so right! If they did not choose to move towards reconciliation the chances are great that they all would probably have been annilhilated?

      I agree when you say to "turn one over" to God, when satan appears to be in control." I believe that if you are not subject to God you are subject to anything!

      Thank You for stopping by.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Forgetting is a part of forgiveness. We cannot forget like God can because we do not have that ability, yet. A few months ago I wrote a hub about forgiveness. I am going to link it here but you can delete this comments if you want. It won't bother me at all if you do.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago


      Thank you for stopping by. It is very difficult to imagine the numerous lives and the terrible abuse which took place during the Rwandan genocide. But it really happened!

      What is so amazing is that they are teaching through the grace of God you can rise above it! They are teaching others the invaluable lessons of hope and healing they have learned.

      They are working hard in their "Mission of Forgiveness and Reconciliation."


    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      8 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Yes, Beth ~ what a great name (House of God) :-) I know one of the biggest tasks is accepting God's forgiveness in our own lives, over our own sin. The enemy keeps reminding us of our sin, but God says He remembers them no more, so we know it's not God reminding us!! We have to remember we have REPENTED, which means we will not go back to that sinful life ever again.

      It's much easier to forgive completely when the one we forgive also forgives. If they don't forgive the situation, it's like having one whole leg and one broken one; the walk will be difficult and unbalanced. That's why we pray for those who struggle to forgive, that God would give them the grace to enter into that forgiveness.

      When we realize all we've been forgiven of, we then realize how little we are forgiving others of, in comparison!! We've had our debt erased (as with the one who owed his Master money and was forgiven his debt, then went after the one who owed him money ~ the Master then made him pay his debt back afterall!), so we must also forgive our debtors!! Amen :-)

    • Beth100 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Forgiveness is accepting one's responsiblity, accepting the event, accepting the pain and releasing the pain in a constructive way. It is a difficult task, but a journey that leads us closer to becoming whole spiritually. Forgiving is not forgetting, but it is learning to not repeat it again.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      8 years ago from Roseville, CA

      It's hard to find the words I wish to write here. When the absolute hate, ugliness, death, disease, horrid things come into an otherwise peaceful existence, it feels like death. Unforgiveness in this case would keep the hate going on for generations and generations, killing off more and more ~ maybe even annihilating everyone in the end!

      If a person harbors unforgiveness, it keeps the devil's foothold in their life and eats them alive over time. It's destructive. All parties involved are separated from each other and robbed of the love that they all need from each other. They were all Rewandans, except for the instigators!! For someone to feel the need to retaliate or to see horrible consequences come upon their enemy is evil in and of itself. It's more of a sadness and grief we have when we are in Christ Jesus.

      I've found that to "turn one over" to God when Satan appears to be in control, and to pray for that person while they're in God's "discipline", results in the ultimate defeating of the enemy! And forgiveness means just that...let it go; start anew; let God be the Lord in the hearts involved. This is the only way to conquer Satan!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      I read your hub on the Rewandan Genocide and it makes your heart hurt for the poeple that wer killed, misued and abused, but your story reminds me of when Jesus said "Forgive them for they know not what they do" the sad thing about this siutation and our worldly murderous crimes and hurtful deed is people really don't believe that you reap what you sow or they would continue to do wrongful deed to anyone. Thank you for letting us know how blessed we are. Godspeed. creative


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile imageAUTHOR

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Blessings & Thank You!

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It was Mary McLeod Bethune who said 'forgiving is not forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt'

      - at first I could not understand how the people in S. Africa could 'forgive' after the brutality of apartheid. But they said they will lose if they keep the hatred in their hearts - it would continue to destroy them. It takes great people to rise above such violence. Don't know if I could do it.

      Thanks for such a well written informative hub.


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