Not Ordinary Forgiveness

Climate Change: from hatred to forgiveness.

“Let history inform you, not control you. We cannot change the past, but we can change our feelings about it and move forward.” — Jean Paul Samputu


FAMILY IS so important. And so if someone killed your family, how could you forgive that? There’s a man who did: Jean Paul Samputu. It seems hard to believe if we’re being honest. We know it’s right to forgive, but very few people know how to do it. 

Jean Paul was just a simple, ordinary man until the genocide, or mass killing, happened in his country. After the genocide, he thought he was going crazy. But then he saved himself by learning how to forgive. It didn’t happened quickly. It took some time.  

     When I first learned about this story I was shocked! Nineteen years ago, one million Rwandan Tutsis were killed by their closest mates, the Hutus, in 90 days. It’s so hard to believe. Before this they were all friends and neighbors. Jean Paul’s father told him to leave the country and save his life. But his father and mother, three brothers and one sister stayed in Rwanda. When Jean Paul returned home, he learned that his whole family had been killed by one of his best friends. Jean Paul tried to understand his mate’s horrible act, but he couldn’t. What he finally did understand was that anger was destroying him. 

      He turned to religion and it sort of saved him from anger and hate. But I think it was not just faith that helped him. I think he was tired of what he was feeling. He knew hatred wouldn’t bring his family back. So he decided to be faithful to the goodness of his family by being faithful to love. 

    Jean Paul not only forgave the man who killed his family, but even helped him forgive himself. Jean Paul’s family was murdered, but his friend’s soul was also murdered. Jean Paul and his friend began to work together to help their country learn how to forgive. Jean Paul is an example for all people, not just Rwandan people. “Forgiveness is for you, not the offender. When you forgive, you heal yourself,” he tells everyone. 

 Tonya [native language, Ukrainian] 

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 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: