She heard the killers call her name.
“She is here. We know she is here… Find Immaculee!”
Over 200 sodliers with machetes and machine guns had surrounded the house, and were systematically ransacking from room to room, looking for surviving Tutis. The only thing separateing Immaculae Ilibegiza from death was a large wardrobe and prayer.
For a three month period in 1994, Immaculee Ilibagiza hid in a 3 foot by 4 foot bathroom of a Hutu Minister with seven other women. All the while Rwandan Hutu interahamwe extremists went from house to house looking for surviving Tutis repeatedly searching house she was hidden in.
The story of Immaculee Ilibigiza is uplifting and inspiring. Her deep connection to God and steady prayer not only helped her survive one of the worse genocides in history, it helped her to forgive.
Can you imagine forgiving the men who have killed your parents, your brothers, your friends, almost everyone you have ever loved or known?
The french captain at the relief camp approached her one day. “I’ll give you some justice… If you want revenge, it’s yours for the asking. Give me the names of the Hutus that were searching for you, or the ones who killed your parents and brothers, and I’ll have them killed for you.” The french captain made an incredible offer. Trained and well-armed soldiers who would kill at her command. Her response? She prayed for the captain. That God would touch his heart with forgiveness for all the hatred and death he had seen.
She had come to see the truth. That the killers were nothing more than children. Children who had badly lost their way and were steeped in the belief that the only way out of desperation, was to kill the Tutis that they believed were blocking their prosperity and success.
Forgiveness is simply the most powerful acts of humanity. It relieves us of our burden so we can move forward powerfully. It is deeply inspiring to others. And Inspiration sells.
If you want to truly step into influence, be courageous in your forgiveness. Here’s two important tips
1. Forgive yourself daily. Make sure you stop and thing about where you’re angry at yourself and clean this up.
2. Separate forgiveness from accountability and reparation. Forgiving someone does not mean that they should not make amends.