The strongest lesson I learned while in Uganda is what forgiveness truly is and why we need to do it. Mama Angelina put it best while sitting on a mat in the middle of the pouring rain under a mango tree in rural Uganda. She asked, how we can expect God to forgive us if we can’t forgive others? We all want God’s forgiveness because we are sinners, however, we are frequently unable to forgive others.
Every grudge I had ever held seemed so minute in comparison to the atrocities committed by the LRA towards the people of northern Uganda. Although not everyone found forgiveness to be possible, many said they had already forgiven or could see forgiveness as possible someday. This was unfathomable to me. I came home from Uganda and mended broken relationships because I have to forgive before I can expect God to forgive me.
Additionally, Mama Angelina pointed out that without forgiveness we cannot know peace. Although we in the United States know peace much better than those in northern Uganda, we all have known inner turmoil of some degree. We cannot move forward without first forgiving. This was a common theme with many we spoke to in Uganda. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the only ways to peace.