My wife and I watched a movie last night called Hotel Rwanda. The movie was centered around a Hutu hotel manager, who actually turned the hotel into a refugee camp in the midst of the genocide of his people. The hotel was owned by a wealthy Belgian who did step in towards the end and help. However the international community did little or nothing; expressing a callous indifference that ultimately culminated in the slaughter of a million people. The entire movie of course had my attention; and I was sadly indignified by the lack of concern shown by the United States. But there was one particular scene that caught my attention and brought the entire theme of the movie home in an instant. This scene involved actor Nick Nolte, who portrayed a U.N peacekeeping general and actor Don Cheadle as Paul Rusesebagina, the hotel manager. As the scene unfolds, a U.N. force that had been promised to rescue the people had arrived. However, much to the surprise of Nick Nolte, the U.N. troops were only given orders to evacuate and rescue the U.N. citizenry. In other words, the Hutu’s, men women and children were to be left behind. And it was Nick Nolte’s unfortunate responsibility to deliver this news to Paul. Basically what he told him is this: Paul, in the eyes of the world, you are worse than black; you are African. You are a non-person! Therefore, it is easy for the international community to turn a blind eye. Now here is the part that struck me personally; not that the whole thing did not strike me personally; this part gave credence to some of what my wife and I have experienced since being cast out of what we used to consider church. Paul was not so surprised by even the brutality of his own people killing each other as he was by observing an entire international community’s response! Because it is completely understandable that men in leadership lose their heads sometimes and make terrible decisions; which in turn draw others in. It is an entirely different matter, however, and becomes down right shocking, when an entire community witnesses with sober mind these injustices, and does nothing. Or worse yet, continues to serve and protect the guilty!
In retrospect, I was not overly shocked by the religious men I encountered in this ordeal that stuck to their tradition with the proud tenacity of a Pharisee. I was shocked however, by friends and family members that agreed we were telling the truth yet did nothing to stop these men from leaving us behind. Friends and family members, which by the way, and worse yet still protect and serve the guilty! I don’t know about anyone else, but I would find it very hard to sleep at night if I were on the other side of the page!
My friends it is not a pastor’s job to rule over us! The position of the man of God is given by the authority of Christ Himself to come alongside the saints, and oversee to their spiritual needs. That we all come to the unity of the faith through the knowledge of the Son of God! If a pastor is abusing the honor of pastorialship by belittling or bullying the saints; it is our job, our obligation towards one another in love to stand up and use our voice to stop the injustice!
Lord, embolden our spirits with the unfathomable power of your love for us, that our love not be in hypocrisy! Fill us with the power of Your Presence, that we may go boldly before the throne of grace; when the hour is at hand, and we must step up to the plate to refute injustice! We thank You Lord that You hear us, and that You always hear us! We love You Lord! In Jesus precious Name…Amen! God bless you all!
George L. Miller
This poem grasps the theme of this commentary with brutal clarity and finality. Thank you Christal for bringing it to our attention!
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
― Martin Niemöller