Those of us who have been Christians most of our lives and have “hung” out in church even when we were dragged, kicking and screaming (until we found out where the boys were going) don’t have a tendency to think about the absolute miracle that is Salvation.
We marvel when those we know who have led rather disreputable lives find Christ and change. The problem is for those of us who basically have lived decent normal lives. The change of Salvation is in our hearts.
Then there are stories like this one. The Pink Flamingo’s friend, Sally Vee forwarded this article to me. It is long and very difficult to read. It is heart wrenching.
“…Blahyi is in no doubt that saying sorry is not enough. Talking to him inside the shade of an empty church, he says he feels forgiven by God. But forgiveness on Earth is another matter.
‘I believe the Bible strongly and it says God has forgiven me.’
Would you be willing to be tried for war crimes at The Hague?
‘Yes. I would say I am guilty and if the law says I should be jailed for war crimes, then jail me. If the law says I should be hanged, then hang me.’
Blayhi tells me he still struggles to cope with the enormity of his savagery. At times it threatens to break him.
Did you think of suicide?
Before we leave him, he goes to a second – hand shoe shop and spends £6 on trainers for his boys and his children.
Carrying them in a black binliner, he says his goodbyes and for that moment he seems alone.
He heads for the bus that will take him home.
Home is not where his family is; they live in hiding in Ghana. His greatest fear now is not death, but losing his own children – an irony not lost on him.
For me, our week together has been like being with a split personality.
Describing his past life is a painful and violent catharsis, leaving him and those around him drained and traumatised.
Then there’s the other side: the reformed pastor dispensing a bag of doughnuts to local schoolchildren, telling the story of Jesus and the loaves and fishes with great warmth and humour.
We all get caught up in the laughter, until I suddenly find myself recoiling with the memory of all he has told me.
This is his fate from now on: for as long as he lives, no matter how much he reforms, he will never be able to escape the horror of his past.
The story of Joshua Milton Blahyi is more than a story of Africa’s bloodshed and savagery. It is also a story of a man struggling for redemption and change.
His victims cannot forgive him. He is more likely to face a bullet in the head than the day in court he says he wants…”