Recently I heard a very moving interview with a lady, Lawill Concy, who lives in the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda. Her husband is a Christian minister. Lawill spoke about atrocities which she suffered 10 years ago at the hands the “Lord’s Resistance Army”, a vicious rebel group. She, together with 10 other women, was abducted by some LRA rebels. They were taken several miles into the jungle to a rebel camp.
The rebel commanders ordered a young boy, who was about 12 years old, to mutilate the women with a very sharp machete. They were told, “Don’t cry or scream when the knife comes or you will be killed straight away.” The women were then left to struggle back to the town. The women will have to live for the rest of their lives with the serious facial disfigurement inflicted on them.
Lawill explained how she has coped with her traumatic experience. For several years she was afraid to leave her home. If she had come across the man who mutilated her she would have wanted to kill him for what he did to her. But she went on to say, “But now I’m ready to forgive him and the others. Now I have put myself in the hands of God. The Bible says we should forgive one another. So, I’m ready to forgive them all.”
Lawill’s story is very moving and powerful. In an age when hatred and revenge motivate many, a forgiving spirit is striking and beautiful. It reminds us of God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was rejected and condemned by the people, many of whom had experienced his love and kindness. The crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” As he hung dying on the Cross, he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” One man who was crucified with him experienced God’s forgiveness before he died.
Lawill has experienced the love and grace of Jesus. She knows that God has forgiven her sins because Jesus suffered and died in her place. Her experience of the love of Jesus has made her a truly beautiful person. Through the strength Jesus gives her she is able to forgive men who did such wicked things to her. She knows, too, that the young boy who mutilated her, and carries it on his conscience still, can also find God’s forgiveness through Jesus.