TBT: Some Thoughts on “Hotel Rwanda”

I originally wrote this in 2012. This month was the 25th anniversary of this horrific event, and it seemed appropriate to share it again.


I’d been looking forward to seeing it.  I knew it would be a excellent film.  I knew the acting was going to be incredible.  I knew it would be informative.  I knew it would be a completely fulfilling movie experience, as good as I’d heard, and worthy of all the awards and accolades it’s received.

However, I had no idea it was going to speak to me so deeply.

No, I’m not going to start protesting human rights or dive deeper into politics in order to fight for social justice across the world.  Quite the contrary.

After I’d turned off the movie and while I was sitting in my bathroom weeping into a wad of toilet paper, I thought to myself: Who was the U.S. President then? Who can we blame for this? Then something happened. It was as if the Lord was turning my head and redirecting my line of vision.  I was suddenly looking down at the earth from the heavens. I could see the continents, and I was  trying to find Rwanda on the African piece of the planet.

That was when I realized it didn’t actually matter what country it was where this happened. God didn’t care about Rwanda, He cared about the people in Rwanda. And, the people in every other nation on this planet.  He doesn’t see the borders between countries. He sees the people. He sees the million bodies of the slain people in Rwanda that lined the roads for miles and miles, filling ditches and covering fields. These are people He so loves that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for them. To save them—not from this life, but from the eternal death to come.

As I was watching Don Cheadle’s performance, I kept reminding myself of the real man who was willing to put his own life on the line for others. This man, just a regular man, was willing to give everything to save those who were helpless and defenseless against their enemy.

Wait. Wasn’t God asking the same of me? Wasn’t I supposed to be willing to lay down my life for those who are defenseless against the Enemy of their soul? Isn’t that what God has called us all to do?

So many Christians have taken up social causes and concerns, from abortion to human trafficking to crimes against children. It’s not that these things aren’t worthy concerns. They are terribly wrong acts against God.  That they are wrong—in fact, sin—is why I think we need to question making them, or supporting them as, a cause. Some Christians have built their entire faith and Christian walk around a cause that essentially boils down to trying to stop people from sinning. “Stop killing!” “Stop raping women!” “Stop unlawful behavior!”

Yet, we were not given the authority to do that, to stop people from sinning. Only the Holy Spirit can convict us of sin, and only the blood of Jesus can break those bondages. As Christians, we have the answer for the one who is bound. It’s called the Good News, and that is what we are called to preach. Why are we trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job, and not the one He has actually given us to do?  We’ve been commissioned to tell the lost how to be saved in order that they may have this power from on high. We should be prepared to lay down our lives in order to get the truth of the Cross to them, not the message that they should stop sinning. Who cares if anyone is spared from sin, but still left to die and go to Hell? It’s reverse legalism. And, it’s terrifying to me that the church has made this their gospel.

I really have to ask myself why have I spent so many hours of my life caring about politics and political issues, when there are people living and dying without Jesus. Why am I here, except to win the lost? Am I willing to I lay down my political activism at Christ’s feet and pick-up His cross instead?

I know that many will object to this message, and I can hear their arguments all ready. I do respect people for speaking out against injustice, and I don’t think we are supposed to not care that these things happen. However, I believe our approach has mostly been wrong, and I believe the proof of that is in the fruit of these efforts, and in the lack of souls in the church.

After forty years of pro-life activism, where’s the fruit? Why aren’t churches full of single mothers with children? Most churches don’t have a single mother’s small group, or a ministry to teen moms, or even a well-staffed nursery! Not to mention that most churches have a pitiful children’s ministry that is almost a second-thought. And, if so many Christians care so much about children and babies, where are the hordes of Christian foster parents? Why isn’t every Christian’s car full of neighborhood kids coming to Sunday School? How many churches have given up on VBS, because they couldn’t find enough volunteers?

Imagine with me what would happen if instead of giving $10 a month to stop human trafficking, Christians instead stopped patronizing pornography websites. What if, instead of protesting abortion, Christians began volunteering to teach Sunday School? What would happen if Christians stopped sending their money to conservative political lobbyists, and instead gave that money to missions? And, what if, instead of sending money to a charity that will feed the hungry, we gave our time and money towards opening a food pantry and soup kitchen in our own church? A rock star tells us to care about this, or care about that, and we jump to answer his call. We need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what  the cause of Christ is first. What cause did He die for, and what cause did He call us to die for, too? Did He come to carry a sign in protest?  Is that the example we are supposed to follow? No, He came to carry a Cross.

Please, don’t get me wrong. My heart is stirred with compassion when I hear of the needs around the world. I wish another baby never had to be aborted again. I want to build wells in Africa, too! I care about these causes. I love meeting needs! However, I know it’s a lot easier to give money, than to give myself. And, it’s a lot easier to give myself to a man-made cause, than to give myself to the cause of Christ. I have been lead astray by the temptation to “do good” through a $5 or $500 gift, instead of actually “doing good” and living a life that will make a difference.

If you are still reading this, please ask yourself this question: What am I doing to support the cause of Christ? If you are not giving of your time, talent, and money to the cause of reaching the lost with the good news of John 3:16, I urge you to seek God and reconsider your choices.

Addendum

After writing this,I came across the following quote.
‎”Loving Him is to be our cause. He can take care of a lot of other causes without us, but He can’t make us love Him with all our heart. that’s the work we must do. Anything else is an imitation.” (Keith Green)

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