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Genocide Prevention in Five Words

Genocide Prevention in Five Words

Rwandans Frida and Jean Baptiste have reconciled after Jean Baptiste took part in the brutality that killed Frida's husband.

The anniversary of the Rwandan genocide should motivate us to strive to prevent such tragedy from ever happening again. Jesus outlined the real solution.

I’m writing from Kigali, Rwanda, where the Kwibuka20—the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide—is underway. Diplomats, delegates and journalists have come from all over the world to participate in the commemoration of one of the most concentrated periods of barbarism in human history.

The world should never forget what happened in Rwanda 20 years ago. Estimates are that 800,000 to 1,000,000 people, nearly three quarters of the Tutsi tribe, were killed between April 7 and mid-July 1994. This is about seven people killed every minute for 100 days. Many were tortured first before being killed with machetes, nail-embedded clubs and other gruesome makeshift weapons.

Several countries and the United Nations could have intervened and forcibly stopped the bloodshed. But they did not.

The mood here in Kigali is somber, as event after event commemorates, educates and offers catharsis. There are also constant calls for understanding and for the international community to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

A simple solution

Students of Bible prophecy understand that a future time is coming that will be worse than any time in human history preceding it (Matthew 24:21-22). This Great Tribulation, instead of just being experienced in a geographical region, will threaten the survival of people all around the world.

The world does not have to face massacres like Rwanda in 1994. Jesus Christ provided a five-word solution to such terrible scourges. If that simple, five-word concept were applied, the word genocide would never need to be used again. Thankfully, the Bible also reveals that this terrible time will be cut short and that Jesus Christ will usher in the greatest era of peace that human beings have ever experienced (Matthew 24:22; Isaiah 2:4).

But, in the meantime, it doesn’t have to be this way. The world does not have to face massacres like Rwanda in 1994. Jesus Christ provided a five-word solution to such terrible scourges. If that simple, five-word concept were applied, the word genocide would never need to be used again.

Here it is: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). That’s it. Simple, right? It’s slightly expanded form is “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”—the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).

If each human being would commit to applying this principle—without exceptions, whatever the cost—there would never be another tragedy like the Holocaust or Stalin’s purges or Mao’s Cultural Revolution or the Interahamwe’s killings in Rwanda. All acts of violence would end, and the world would be a kinder place.

Few people would dispute the goodness of the principle that Christ taught, yet few people are willing to commit to applying it all the time—without question or hesitation. Most would want to leave themselves an out—the option of treating someone in a way we would not want to be treated (if it was for our own safety or benefit). Unfortunately, just the slightest compromise with this principle is what leads to war and almost all suffering.

One sad topic of discussion in newspapers here in Kigali is the example of leaders of Christian churches (even elders and bishops) who participated in the slaughter 20 years ago. Some who claim the banner of Christianity did resist the evil and tried to practice the Golden Rule, and some did not.

So that leads to a question.

How committed are you to the Golden Rule?

Jesus didn’t allow for any exceptions to the Golden Rule. He just said “do” it. He called it one of the two great commandments of God that must guide everything we do (Matthew 22:38-40).

Yes, everything. No exceptions.

This 20th anniversary of genocide is a good time for us to ask ourselves how committed we are to the Golden Rule. Do we allow for exceptions in our life? I believe this is a good conversation to have with ourselves, to seek clarity of purpose.

If we don’t, the time will certainly come where hesitation or ambivalence will make us a part of the problem and not the solution.

The Golden Rule encapsulates the general way God wants us to live. To learn more about the laws God designed to bring peace and happiness to human beings, read our free booklet God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today.

Photo by Elena Hermosa for Trocaire/CC BY 2.0

About the Author

Joel Meeker

Joel Meeker

Joel Meeker is a pastor, writer, editor and administrator. He serves as regional director for the French-speaking regions of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (a position he’s had for over 20 years). He is also chairman of its Ministerial Board of Directors.  

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