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As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda Paperback – February 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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Ignore the doubters, skeptics, and experts about Rwanda and reconciliation after the 1994 genocide. Catherine Claire Larson has witnessed the same thing that I and a handful of other Westerners have, which is that everyday Rwandans who take the risk of biblical forgiveness soon experience new joy beyond human understanding. This book chronicles the miracle of forgiveness in a distinctive, evocative, and potent way. -- Tim Morgan
Those who fear the breadth of America's left-right gap should see how radical forgiveness is healing Rwanda's far, far greater divide. Catherine Claire Larson realistically reports both scars and grace. -- Dr. Marvin Olasky
I had trouble reading Catherine Claire Larson’s book---As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda, because of the lump in my throat and the flood of tears that made it difficult to focus. These stories of forgiveness in the wake of the Rwandan genocide are miracles of the highest order. Catherine does not just tell the story but she does so with a deft literary touch that actually does justice to the extraordinary stories. Like me, the reader may find their vision blurred from tears, but please persevere and discover what true forgiveness really looks like. -- Frank A. James III, , President
In compelling stories and thoughtful reflections, Catherine Claire Larson gives us glimpses of the powerful transformation taking place in Rwanda today. Reconciliation can indeed follow unspeakable evil; forgiveness is the key. -- Daniel W. Van Ness, , Executive Director
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Top Customer Reviews
Inspired by and building upon the two documentaries As We Forgive (Laura Waters Hinson) and We Are All Rwandans (Debs Gardner-Patterson), Catherine Claire Larson explores the dark hours of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in even greater depth and power by retelling not only the harrowing stories of survival, but the miraculous accounts of forgiveness. The stories she recounts are heart-wrenching, stomach-turning experiences of the absolute worst of human sinfulness matched only by the awe-inspiring moments of forgiveness made possible through the grace of God in Christ.
The effect of this book is to put one's own life in new perspective. When the stories of terror are met with the miracles of forgiveness, one's own experiences of grief, trial and guilt pale in comparison. This is not only a book for those interested in the horror of the Rwandan genocide and afterward; this is a book for anyone who has ever been wronged or has ever wronged another.
Larson leads the reader through seven different accounts of personal experiences. It is difficult to find words to sum these experiences up, except to say that the reader is asked to share with the victims in the horrors of rape, dismemberment, burnings and abandonments. Relatives are killed in the sight of loved ones, fathers in the plain view of their children. Even clergy and officials participate in mass killings of Tutsi people, who they have categorized as "cockroaches." The absolute worst in human nature is on display here. With each story of horror and survival, an accompanying miracle emerges: forgiveness.
What struck me in reading was the fundamental truth that forgiveness is unnatural; forgiveness cannot naturally follow what these victims endured.Read more ›
This book is not easy to read, but it is necessary to read. We all need to know that we are forgiven and that we are capable of forgiving even the most heinous and outrageous of offenses. The awful history of Rwanda can teach us all the profound truth of our own guilt and the almost unbearable grace of forgiveness.
Larson does tell the stories of suffering in detail. Her friendship with victims and knowledge of their stories, narrated in vivid prose, is heart-breaking. Rwandans did vicious, awful things to one another. Larson does not look away.
What was so surprising, after learning of the brutality in detail, is how Larson's subjects slowly came to forgive their enemies. It's hard to believe. I think of the slights and shuns and petty avengement in my docile suburban world, and how friends will say, "I'm not speaking to him," and it all seems so silly when those who were repeatedly tormented and had their loved ones slain can forgive ultimate horror.
Larson provoked me to think about my relationships at a deeper level, but also how collectives and institutions might also contemplate forgiveness of wrongs done to them.
Through it all Larson writes with verve and wisdom that makes for enlivened reading, and she points to a depth and richness of HOPE that I've rarely experienced. This is a great book.
During 100 days of 1994 800,000 people were brutally murdered in Rwanda--a genocide swifter in execution than Nazi gas chambers. Imagine Denver and Colorado Springs--every man, woman and child--suddenly gone from our population and you'll appreciate the scope of the horror. (And go look on a map of Africa. Trace your finger due South of Uganda, due West of the Congo and you'll appreciate how little this country is.)
As We Forgive shares the stories of genocide survivors, recounting the unspeakable. But it does not stop there. Larson pulls back the curtain of the most ostentatious acts of forgiveness I've witnessed, where genocide survivors choose to forgive those who perpetrated such violence.
Together, through reconciliation practices and restorative justice, they are rebuilding their country from the ruins of hatred--all on the back of the One who still bears the scars for our sins today.
I came away from this book changed, deeply moved, and inspired. Having seen the power of God to help people forgive the seeming unforgiveable, it gave me hope that my own wrestling with forgiveness would end in hope. I also appreciated that none of the forgiveness modeled was simple or easy or quickly won, nor does the book purport that reconciliation is merely forgiveness while forgetting. For true restoration to occur, the person perpetrating the atrocity must first fully own his/her own sin and grieve it as such.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Powerful and challenging stories of forgiveness. I am still wrestling with these stories. I know forgiveness is the only path forward, the only path to healing but it's no cake... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Travis
If you are struggling to forgive, then you need to read this book. Reading this book was a humbling experience.Published 15 months ago by Marilyn
A moving story of what may begin through desperate circumstances towards that which flourishes with hope. It would be easy to overlook the importance of this event. Read morePublished 16 months ago by panda7mania
I would rate this book higher if it were not for the author's views on forgiveness. I disagree with the view she puts forth on forgiveness and her authorities on forgiveness. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David J Barger
I highly recommend this book. It is full of heart wrenching stories of the Rwandan genocide and how victims found a way to forgive through Christ. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kerry L Chambliss
This is an excellent book for anyone who battles with forgiveness. It is an insightful, emotional and provocative read and I highly recommend it.Published on July 6, 2014 by Amazon Customer