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We Forgive Them
Photo: Thanh Lam
Dr. Kojo A. Carew sat at his hospital desk trying to catch up on paperwork. It was late and he wanted to get home to his wife and child, but noisy chatter from the patient ward below distracted his attention. Finally he went downstairs to ask for quiet.

As he entered the doorway of the amputee ward, anxious, eager faces turned toward him. "Oh, Dr. Carew, we need your help. They are holding a trial for the captured rebels. They are accused of treason. They will be found guilty and put to death." The voices tumbled over each other. "We need you to tell the court that we do not want anyone to die on our account. There has been enough of death and killing. Tell them that we have forgiven them."

Dr. Carew looked around the overcrowded ward. Everyone there had lost one or more limbs during the recent assault by the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) on Freetown, Sierra Leone. (6,000 killed, 1,500 wounded.) Most of these people had witnessed family members or loved ones murdered, raped, brutalized. They'd lost their homes, their livelihoods, everything but their lives on account of the terrorists.

"You want me to say that you have forgiven them?" 

"Yes, yes! Please tell the magistrates for us that we want no one to die."


"I will do that," promised Dr. Carew, "and now you must be quiet so I can finish my work." He went slowly back to his desk pondering what he had just witnessed and heard.

"Until that moment I'd thought that I was the Christian," he told us as he related the incident while on a visit to Dayton, Ohio to address a group of supporters. "I thought I was doing my Christian duty by giving them Bible lessons and Christian videos to pass the time. I tell you," he said, dark eyes flashing, "we must never judge anyone because they are poor or uneducated. I was the one with the little letters after my name, but they were my teachers that night!"

Turning to me he added, "And do not ever think that you cannot make a difference in the world. Everyone is given the power to make a difference. Never think that what you have to offer is too small or not important enough."

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. But if you enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals of fire upon his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21).

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®.

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