- GeneralForum: 1General
- Unit 1:The Commandments of GodUnit 1:The Commandments of God
Key unit competency:
By the end of the unit, you will be able to justify the importance of the commandments in daily life.
1.1 The Sinai event
Read Exodus 19 and 20.
Dramatise how the Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Fig. 1.1: Moses and the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai
The commandments of God were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. At Mount Sinai, God communicated with the Israelites whom He had liberated from the Egyptian bondage. He communicated with them through Moses.
In the third month of their journey, the Israelites set up a camp at the foot of Mount Sinai. It was during this time that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Before he received the commandments, Moses left the Israelites at the foot of the mountain. Then he went up the mountain to communicate with Yahweh.
God told him to instruct the Israelites to prepare themselves to meet God. He told them to wash their clothes and avoid sex. This was because God wanted them to be clean and pure as they went before Him. The Israelites were also warned not to follow Moses up to the mountain. God told Moses that He would come in a thick cloud. All the people would hear God speak to Moses and believe him. Moses did as he was told by God.
On the day that Moses received the Ten Commandments, he went up the mountain with Aaron. The rest of the people remained at the foot of the mountain. The whole mountain was covered with smoke, as God appeared in the form of fire. Then, God spoke in a thunderous voice to communicate His commandments to Moses. Moses was given the Ten Commandments and other laws that were to guide the Israelites.
Can you find out which other laws were given to the Israelites from Exodus 20 and 25.
Moses told people to abstain from sex before they went before God. We should avoid sex before marriage. This way we maintain our dignity before God. For the married, sex should be with their lawful partners only as a way of honouring God.
1.1.1 The Decalogue
1. Using knowledge from your previous lessons, recite the Ten Commandments.
2. Discuss the Ten Commandments one by one.
The Book of Exodus 20 teaches us the Ten Commandments, which are also called the Decalogue. They represent the laws which were passed on from God to the liberated people of Israel.
Meaning of Decalogue
Decalogue refers to the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. They were given to the Israelites to regulate their relationships with God and themselves. God chose them as His nation and so they were expected to live according to His laws.
1. You shall have no other god except me (Exodus 20:3)
This commandment required the Israelites to believe in one God (Monotheism).
It meant that Yahweh was the only true creator. All other gods were false.
Christians have continued to believe in one God whom they worship as the Creator of the universe. This unites them even if they differ in some religious beliefs and practices. When we trust in one God we shall love him above everything else. We shall obey His commandments and set a good example to others in our society. Christians are united as one in the body of Jesus Christ
2. You shall not make yourselves images, of anything that is in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth (Exodus 20:4-6)
This commandment required that the Israelites worship Yahweh alone. They were commanded not to make and worship images of God (idols). The practice of worshipping idols is known as idolatry.
This commandment applies to our daily lives. We should not worship other gods but God alone. We should not pray through our ancestors or evil spirits.
Fig. 1.2: A man visiting a witchdoctor
There are also people who worship ‘modern idols’ such as money or wealth, alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and drugs are dangerous to our bodies. They affect our health negatively. Some people think these are the most important things in life, so they have no time for God. Such beliefs can prevent us from worshipping the one true God. If we devote our lives to idols, we shall be committing idolatry which is a sin.
It is good to have a budget of your income. This enables you to avoid impulse buying. Whoever budgets for his or her money lives within his or her means. Avoid spending money by giving witchdoctors with the hope of getting more in return.
Does this mean we should not work hard to get money or wealth? Not at all. What it means is that we should not put all our trust in them to the point of ignoring God and other people’s welfare.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exodus 20:7)
This commandment forbids any form of abuse of God’s name. The Israelites were required to respect and honour God’s name. God’s name is holy and powerful. All promises made in the name God were to be done with honesty and truthfulness.
Any person who committed the sin of blasphemy went against the third commandment. Blasphemy is the act of claiming to have equal powers with God. Jesus was accused of blasphemy when he forgave sinners because the Jews believed that only God had power to forgive sins. This commandment shows the honour and respect that is supposed to be given to God. It meant that His name should be used with sincerity and good intentions not with falsehood and blasphemy. We should avoid giving false oaths or making false promises invoking the name of God.
4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
This commandment recalls the holiness of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the seventh day of creation. It was reserved by God as a day of rest and worship of God. The Sabbath was also important to the Israelites because it was a memorial of their liberation from Egyptian bondage. It was the sign of an irrevocable covenant between God and His people. No work was to be done on the Sabbath.
The Old Testament recommends the obedience and solemn respect of the Sabbath. Many Christian denominations pray and worship on Sunday. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection of Jesus, the Saviour of humanity.
Resurrection is considered to be the new creation. However, some Christian churches observe the Sabbath on Saturday.
5. Respect your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12)
The fifth commandment requires children to respect and obey their parents. Children were expected to obey not only their biological parents but also other elders. This would ensure peace and harmony between parents and children, elders and the young generation. In the African traditional society, respect for elders and parents was observed strictly. This reduced conflicts.
In the New Testament, Jesus himself reinforced this commandment. For example, in the book of Ephesians 6:1-3, it is our Christian duty to obey our parents.
The commandment shows the right relationship between parents and children. It also requires us to respect elders with honour and gratitude. This rule also applies in the relationship between students and teachers, employees and employers, citizens and a country. As citizens of Rwanda, we should respect the laws of our land and also respect our leaders.
6. You shall not kill (Exodus 20:13)
Human life is sacred because it comes from God. It is part of God’s creation. All human beings are God’s creatures.
We bear the image and likeness of God. Therefore God alone is the source of life from its beginning to its end. Nobody in any circumstance can claim the right to destroy the life of another human being.
Through this commandment, there is respect for human life and dignity. It also makes us safeguard peace, avoid war and injustices that may lead to death.
7. You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14)
The story of Ngabo and Mugabo
Ngabo and Mugabo were great friends and neighbours. They were both married and had children. Ngabo was working with the government and could sometimes be sent to a different District.
At one time, Ngabo was away for a month. He had to inform his family and his friend Mugabo before he left, on a Friday. Behind his back, Mugabo had been having a relationship with Ngabo’s wife. He had been looking for an opportunity when Ngabo would be away. That Friday evening Ngabo was escorted to the bus station by Mugabo. Mugabo left him at the bus station and went back home. He was happy that he had got a chance to go back to Ngabo’s house. Unfortunately, the government vehicle that was to collect Ngabo did not turn up. So, after around three hours of waiting, Ngabo had to return home.
When Ngabo arrived home, he heard a male voice talking in a low tone in his house. Keenly listening, he realised that it was Mugabo talking. When the lights went off, Ngabo believed that his friend was sleeping with his wife. He finally tried to get his way into the house, but he could not because the door was locked. Neighbours heard the noise from Ngabo’s home and came out. They helped him break into the house and Mugabo was caught in a compromising state. He was dragged to the nearest police station. Finally, Mugabo had to serve 15 years in jail and his young family suffered a great loss. All this damages came to his family because of adultery.
1. What lesson can you learn from the story?
2. How would you give advice to the family of Mugabo?
In Genesis 1: 27, we read that God created male and female. A man and a woman should get married and bear children.
The Israelites were commanded to avoid adultery. Adultery is sexual intercourse involving a married man or woman with another person who is not his or her married partner. God intended sex to be a sacred gift for married couples only.
A man or woman who commits adultery is unfaithful to his or her partner. This can cause conflicts in families and may break up a marriage. God wants men and women to relate to one another responsibly, both the married and the unmarried.
Human sexuality affects all aspects of human life. It affects the unity of the body and the soul. The unity of the body consists of the biological, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. A sexual act involves desires, feelings, physical changes and attraction to the opposite sex.
The successful integration of sexuality within a person is called chastity. This is the inner unity of a human being in his or her bodily and spiritual life. Hence, chastity is sexual purity.
Chastity involves the dignity and integrity of the person. It also involves his or her moral values and a healthy sexual life. People who are chaste are able to control their sexual desires. They respect their own bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Married people should avoid adultery. Unmarried people should abstain from sex till they get married. We are therefore required to value sex as a sacred gift from God. Sex is intended for procreation and enjoyment between a husband and a wife. It forbids all other forms of misuse of sex such as fornication (pre-marital sex) and prostitution.
8. You shall not steal (Exodus 20:15)
Why do some people steal from others? What kind of things do people steal? What would you say to another student to discourage him or her from stealing?
The commandment against stealing forbade the Israelites from taking other people’s property. They were required by God to show justice towards one another. Justice promotes fairness and peace in society.
We should also avoid unjust taking or keeping of goods that belong to other people. The commandment calls for justice and honesty in our relationships.
As human beings, we should respect the right to own private property. We should also respect human labour and therefore employers should pay their employees on time. Employees should also perform their duties faithfully and work for the number of hours expected of them in accordance with their employment contract.
9. Do not accuse anyone falsely (Exodus 20:16)
God is against all sorts of false information against our neighbours. Jesus Christ came to bear witness to the truth and he is the truth, the way and the life.
This commandment required the Israelites to be honest in their relationships. Bearing false witness leads to mistrust, wrong judgment and bad relationships between individuals, families and society at large. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We should therefore seek justice for all.
Christians should follow the example of Jesus. They should be honest and teach others to practise the same in whatever situation they are in.
10. You shall not desire another man’s house; you shall not desire his wife, his slaves, cattle, donkeys, or anything else that he owns (Exodus 20:17)
The 10th commandment forbids all kind of strong human desires (or covetousness). It forbids greed, selfishness such as the desire to acquire more and more wealth without caring for others.
This commandment also demands chastity and purity of the heart. It is against sexual immorality which starts from people’s thoughts. Uncontrolled natural desires can lead one into sin.
The commandment encouraged the Israelites to resist temptations to sin. Feelings of jealousy and envy should not be allowed to control our behaviour. The commandment demands that people should be contented with what they have. Earthly property should be used for charitable purposes not for selfish gains only.
There are many benefits when people follow the law. For instance;
• There is peace in society.
• There is order in the way people do things.
• There is a feeling of equality as all of us are subjected to the same laws.
• It helps us to reinforce a sense of justice in the society as the same standards are applied to all of us.
1.1.2 Other laws of Moses
Other than the Ten Commandments God gave the Israelites additional laws.
They include the following:
(i) The Israelites were instructed to make an altar of earth for God where they were to sacrifice their burnt offerings. They were to respect the altar as it represented the presence of God. The altar was a holy object.
(ii) If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year he shall go free
without paying any thing. If the servant comes alone, he is to go free alone but if he has a wife when he
comes she is to go with him.
(iii) If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.
(iv) Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.
(v) Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death whether the victim has been sold or is still in the
(vi) Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death.
(vii) If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or donkey falls into it and dies, the
one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange.
(viii) If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one. Then they
will divide both the money and the dead animal equally. However, if it was known that the bull had the
habit of goring yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay. The owner will pay
animal for animal and take the dead animal in exchange.
1.2 Categories or types of commandments of God
1. Read out the Ten Commandments as written in Exodus 20.
2. Classify each commandment as either one that guides our relationship with God or our relationship with
ourselves and with one another.
There are two types of commandments:
i) Commandments about God’s relationship with human beings
These are commandments that are about God’s relationship with human beings. The first four commandments show the relationship of God to human beings.
ii) Commandments about relationship between human beings
These are commandments that are about our relationship with our fellow human beings. The last six commandments show the relationship between human beings with fellow human beings.
According to Jesus, the most important and greatest commandment of all is love. Love your God with your whole being and love your neighbour as you love yourself. This law summarises the two categories of commandments. When we love God we shall obey Him and treat our neighbours fairly as commanded.
Fig. 1.6: Two tablets of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments)
1.3 Importance of the Decalogue for Israel and to Christians
1.3.1 Importance of the Decalogue for the Israelites
The Commandments and other civil laws are necessary for the society. Israelites found the source of morality, values and virtues in the Commandments. The following are elements that made the Commandments necessary and important:
a. The Commandments were important to the Israelites because they defined human beings’ role in the
covenant. God would fulfill His promises to them and to their ancestors if they obeyed His laws.
b. The Ten Commandments made them understand what God expected of them in relation to their
c. The Israelites took them very seriously because they were instructions to their ancestors. The
commandments guided them in how to live faithfully. If they chose to do things contrary to the
Commandments, there were repercussions or consequences.
d. The Israelites understood the Commandments in the light of their divine election. They indicated that
they were special people having a special relationship with God.
e. The Ten Commandments were regarded as special. This is because they formed Israel’s constitution.
They governed the nation’s political, economic, social and spiritual(religious) life. The success of Israel’s
leaders (kings) was judged according to whether or not they obeyed God’s law. King Saul was a failure
because he broke God’s commandments.
f. The people of Israel understood the revelation of the law as a gift of life. They also understood it as an
expression of God’s love for His people.
g. The law was a manifestation of their bond with God and with one another. Through the law they were to
relate well to each other and with God. It emphasised on relationships at all levels in the Israelite
h. The Commandments had both religious and moral values. These gave them an important place in the
traditions of the people.
i. The Commandments reflected the voice of God and His revelation to Israel’s community.
j. The Commandments signified the expected harmony within the Israelite
k. The Jews regarded the Ten Commandments as important because they knew
God revealed Himself through the law. l. The Commandments were the foundation of the covenant that
God made with the Israelites. Observance of the Sabbath Law was the sign of their covenant with God.
1.3.2 Importance of the Decalogue for Christians
Basing on the meaning of each commandment, discuss how the commandments help Christians in their lives.
The Ten Commandments (Decalogue) are important to Christians. They are important
in their way of life. The Decalogue shapes the relationship among Christians and God.
i. Jesus did not come to change the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). He called
all believers to obey him and his Father. According to him this was the greatest law.
ii. The Mosaic Law often segregated the Jews from the Gentiles, sinners from those
who claimed to be righteous. To Christians, the Ten Commandments are for all,they put all humans at
the same level.
iii. The Ten Commandments help man to worship and believe in one God. They forbid the worship of idols
any other god. This encourages Christians to guard against the temptation to trust in earthly riches,
political power and technology at the expense of God.
iv. Jesus Christ advised that the law should not enslave man. Man should find freedom from the law. He
therefore stressed that the Sabbath was made for the good of man but not man for the Sabbath. He also
said that fasting should have its own place for Christians.
v. The Ten Commandments help Christians to live in harmony with fellow human beings. The sixth
commandment condemns killing or murder of any human being and puts God as the author of life.
vi. During his earthly life Jesus lived with his parents at Nazareth. He obeyed them which shows that he
obeyed the fourth commandment. Christian children must always respect their parents.
vii. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Mosaic Law. For instance, on the law that allowed retribution, such as an
eye for an eye. He called for reconciliation instead of revenge. Justice cannot be based on revenge.
viii. The Ten Commandments condemn immorality and more especially sexual immorality such as adultery.
Husbands and wives are expected to love one another. They should be faithful to one another. This
promotes stability in the family and society as a whole.
It should be noted that Christ came so that the law can be fulfilled. Jesus Christ is referred to as the new Moses. He improved the Mosaic Law where it had weaknesses. The age of law is substituted with the era of faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus summarises the Ten Commandments into two. That is, love God with the whole of your body and mind and love your neighbour as you love yourself. The new law is ‘written’ in people’s hearts. It is superior to the Ten Commandments which were written on stone tablets and people had to refer to them.
1.4 Importance of rules and regulations in the society
The story of Mihigo and Mugwaneza
Mihigo and Mugwaneza were athletes in their school. They both made their school proud whenever there were competitions. Their school always hired a coach when they won competitions and proceeded beyond the District level. The school used a lot of resources to train them. This was because there were high rewards in such competitions.
At one event, in their final competition, Mihigo let down all who had hopes in him. This was when they were almost reaching the finishing line. He broke a rule. By trying to hold his colleague’s hand, he was disqualified immediately. The high hopes and cheers from his Province stopped! Mugwaneza followed the rules and won the race. There were cheers for her around the whole field.
Back in school the following new week, the story of Mihigo and the athletics competitions dominated. As the school Head, Mrs Uwambabazi was delivering a speech at the assembly ground, she empasised the importance of following rules. She began by saying, ‘It is important to follow rules in school, at home, in church……….’ Everybody at the assembly ground was unusually silent.
At the conclusion, she congratulated Mihigo for giving the school and the society a very important lesson to learn from. The importance of always following rules was the lesson.
1. Explain the reason why the school had high hopes in Mihigo and Mugwaneza.
2. The school head was right to congratulate Mihigo. Explain
• Rules and regulations help us to maintain peace and harmony in society.
• They are important in keeping the culture of the society.
• Rules and regulations are necessary for instilling discipline in society. For instance, students in school are
expected to follow the school rules to avoid bad behaviour.
• They help promote justice in society as they guide us to know what is right and what is wrong. They guide
us to know the acceptable morals in our society.
• Rules and regulations help harmonise human relationships.
• They also protect fundamental human rights and freedoms.
• Rules limit the misuse of power by leaders such as, the Police, the Army, Politicians and Civil servants.
Every single human being is entitled to enjoy his or her human rights. There should be no discrimination against race, religion, sex, language, colour, nation or political opinion.
• Rules promote responsible parenthood. It is the responsibility of parents by law to provide basic needs for
their children and for children to respect their parents.
• They help control immoral practices in society such as defilement, alcoholism, robbery, rape and adultery.
• Rules help us promote religious practices in society.
Commandments like laws are very important in society. The Ten Commandments guided Israelites and helped them to live in peace and harmony. They were not changed by Jesus but he emphasised that love is the most important commandment.
• The Sinai event shows how God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.
• These commandments were a guide to human beings.
• The Decalogue is also called the Ten Commandments. There are those commandments that showed the
relationship between human beings and fellow human beings. There are also those that showed the
relationship between God and human beings.
• The Decalogue was very important to Israelites. For instance, the commandments governed Israel’s
political, economic, social and spiritual life.
• Apart from the Decalogue, God gave Moses other laws. They helped them in shaping relationships.
• The Decalogue is also important to Christians. For instance, they helped in treating each other equally and
promoting freedom to do good.
• Rules and regulations are important in society. They bring peace and harmony in society. They also
protect fundamental human rights and freedom.
1. State three commandments given to the Israelites that promoted the relationship between human beings.
2. a. Did you know that the Ten Commandments made the Israelites succeed in life?
b. Explain your answer in 2 a above.
3. How did the Sinai event promote the relationship between God and human beings?
4. Explain the importance of the Decalogue to Christians today.Unit 1:The Commandments of God
- Unit 2:The Christian life and valuesUnit 2:The Christian life and values
Key unit competency:
By the end of the unit, you will be able to justify the importance of Christianity in the society and manifest good behaviour.
2.1 Jesus as the centre of Christianity
Birth of Jesus as foretold in the Old Testament
Read Matthew 2:1-6; 1:21-23.
Based on what you have read, discuss in groups about the main message and values of Christianity.
The birth of Jesus as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. The Old Testament prophecies showed that the Messiah would come from the house of King David. The Messiah would be born of a virgin. He would save people from sin and perform miracles. He would be king and would set the people of God free from suffering. The Messiah would suffer from his enemies who would put him to death. But God would raise him from the dead. The birth of Jesus therefore is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
2.1.1 Jesus’ birth and early life in the New Testament (Mat 2:1-6, Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2)
A long time ago, there was a young man called Gasore in Nyarugenge Sector. The young man used to go to a nearby hill to pray. He always prayed in the morning and in the evening. Gasore strongly believed that God would hear his prayers. In our traditional African society, people believed that God lived in special places such as the mountains, hills, around big trees, in caves or in forests. He prayed for God to bless him with a good wife and children. People believed that children were a blessing from God. Therefore people would come together to give thanks to God whenever a child was born. They would sacrifice animals, pray, sing and dance for God.
As time went by, Gasore’s prayers were answered when he married Ingabire from his neighbouring community. As they were preparing the field for the planting season, Ingabire developed labour pains. An old grandmother who was a well known village midwife was called.
Shortly before she arrived, there were ululations from other mothers present that signified the birth of a baby girl.
Relatives from the two families both from Ingabire and Gasore came together to thank God for the child. They brought gifts of food, clothing and animals. They sacrificed some animals to God and ate the rest. The baby was treated with a necklace that could protect her from people with evil eyes. They continued to celebrate the child for more than a week. God continued to bless the family of Gasore and Ingabire.
1. State two similarities in the birth of Gasore’s baby with the birth of Jesus.
2. Identify two differences between the birth of Gasore’s baby and the birth of Jesus.
Today, Christians believe that a child is a gift from God. A pregnant mother is advised to go to hospital for medical checkups. Women are always advised to go to hospital for delivery. They give thanks to God when a baby is born. They also bring gifts to bless the newborn baby. The gifts include clothes, well wishing cards, cakes and money. A child is also taken to church to be dedicated to God. Church leaders pray to God to protect the child.
Fig. 2.1: Baby Jesus being laid in a manger
Recite this verse:
The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.’
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary as foretold in the Old Testament. His birth was announced by the angel Gabriel according to Luke’s gospel. He was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days when Herod was the king. According to Matthew’s Gospel, the wise men from the East brought the news. When King Herod heard this, he was troubled. He then called the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where Christ was to be born. He was told that he would be born in Judea. Then he gathered his men to look carefully for the young child.
Fig. 2.2: The wise men led by a star to where Jesus was born
The star guided the wise men to where Jesus was laid. They brought him three special gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. They had been divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod. They therefore departed for their own country through another way.
When the wise men had departed, Joseph was warned in a dream. He was told to take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt and stay there. They departed and went to hide Jesus in Egypt. They did not come to Jerusalem until Herod was dead. This fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord, “Out of Egypt I called My Son”
Jesus was born to bring salvation to all people. Jesus grew and he became strong; he was full of wisdom and God’s blessing was upon him. As Christians we should give thanks to God and be happy about the birth of Jesus. We should also spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. We should share some gifts during Christmas with the needy such as the poor and orphans.
The baptism of Jesus
Dramatise how baptism is conducted in your church.
Fig. 2.3: Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist
John the Baptist was baptising Jews in the River Jordan. Jesus came from Galilee to be baptised by him. John the Baptist tried to prevent Jesus by saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you and you are coming to me. But Jesus answered, ‘Permit it to be so now for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness’. So John accepted
When he was baptised and came out of the water, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of the Lord descending like a dove and landing upon him. Suddenly a voice came from heaven. “This is my own dear Son with whom I am pleased (Matthew 3:16-17).
The baptism of Jesus had two important meanings. In the first place, it signified that he was truly human. Secondly, it signified that Jesus was the Son of God.
This is the reason why baptism is a sacrament among Christians especially the Catholics.
2.1.2 Jesus’ mission
The calling of the twelve disciples (Luke 6: 12-16)
Fig. 2.4: Jesus calling the first disciples
Ntwali was a young energetic man in Nkungu village. He loved the green vegetation.When he was a young boy, he lost his left arm due to sickness. He would go to Nyarurema forest during his leisure time. Whenever they had a school holiday, he would walk for kilometres and kilometres to look for tree seedlings. He was so
happy to plant and water them in one corner of their piece of land. Before he could plant them he always consulted his mother and father. He also sought help from his brothers and sisters while planting them. Ntwali always cried whenever he saw somebody cut down a tree without a good reason.
As Ntwali grew up, he was taught in school about the importance of trees. This made him become interested in topics that dealt with green environment. He learnt lessons about conservation of the environment. Then he developed the idea of a Tree Planting Club in school. He started a club with four other members of his class. These were two girls and two boys, who were very interested in environmental conservation. As time went by, the number of members grew until it became the leading club. Journalism Club had for long been known to be the best club in the school. Ntwali’s club started participating in community projects.
After finishing Senior Four, Ntwali developed the club into an Environmental Protection Movement. Soon the government started funding projects with the movement. Later, the movement spread throughout the country and to the neighbouring countries. The movement continued to grow and keep them environment friendly to many human beings. Members of Ntwali and his Tree Planting Movement may be called followers.
Ntwali does not need to be employed by the government. Explain.
My environment, my life!
By maintaining our environment we improve our economy. When we improve our economy we improve our livelihood. Let us improve our environment in every way.
Jesus also needed followers to spread the Good News about the Kingdom of heaven. The first followers of Jesus were the twelve disciples. After baptism, the Spirit led Jesus Christ to the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil. He was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. From that time Jesus started to preach and call people to repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus saw two brothers Simon
Peter and Andrew his brother fishing. Jesus said to them, ‘follow me and I will make you fishers of men’ and they followed him (Matthew 4: 18-22).
Then he saw two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them too. They left their boat and followed Jesus.
He went to Galilee preaching and healing all kinds of sickness and disease. From the first disciples, Jesus called others. He commanded them to go and gather the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
After the ressurection and ascension of Jesus, his followers began to be called Christians. From those small groups, Christianity has spread all over the world.
List the names of the other disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Sermon on the Mountain and the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7)
Fig. 2.5: Jesus teaching a multitude on a mountain (Sermon on the Mount)
Look at the picture above.
1. Describe two things that took place during the meeting between Jesus and his followers.
2. Identify at least six Christian values in Matthew 5-7.
3. What promises did Jesus give to: the merciful, pure in heart and peace makers?
As Jesus became famous, multitudes followed him. They wanted to listen to his teachings and receive miracles. He taught people of different backgrounds. One of his greatest teachings was the Sermon on the Mount. In his sermon, Jesus taught the multitudes about what they were required to do to enter the Kingdom of God. They were expected to have right attitudes and values. His teachings about these right attitudes and values are also called the “beatitudes”.
The beatitudes are the sayings that start with the word ‘Blessed...’ In general, Jesus promised heavenly rewards to:
• Those who were poor in spirit.
• Those who were mourning.
• Those who were hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
• Those who were merciful.
• Those who were pure in heart.
• Those who were peace makers.
• Those who were persecuted for righteousness.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus condemned sexual immorality and lust. He also condemned divorce and separation.
He condemned people who brought a gift at the altar but had differences with their brothers. He therefore taught, ‘so if you bring your gift to the altar and while there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the alter, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift’ to God (Matthew 5:23).
Jesus came to reconcile human beings with God. Therefore during his ministry he encouraged reconciliation.
Fasting and praying
From the Bible read Matthew 6: 9-13. Recite what you have read.
We should all learn to pray. Prayers can be said at any time, in the morning, at noon and at night. We should pray at home, at school and in church. As Christians, parents should teach their children how to pray. There are also special prayers where someone goes without food for a period of time.
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught the importance of prayer and fasting. He taught that we should not pray like hypocrites did. They loved to be seen praying on corners of the streets so that they could be seen by their fellow human beings.
When we pray we should go into our rooms and close the door. Our Father who is in the secret place and who sees what you do in secret will reward you openly.
Jesus taught his disciples a prayer known as, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ by Christians.
Jesus also taught about fasting. He taught that when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face . This was to hide from that you are fasting, but to your Father who is in a secret place, will reward you openly.
Finally, Jesus taught that we should seek first the Kingdom of heaven. The rest of the things shall be added to us. We should also never worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Miracles of Jesus Christ
Read this story
A local church elder was teaching teenagers in a church. She told them the story about Jesus’ presence at a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had been invited.
When the wine had gone out, Jesus’ mother told him, ‘they have no wine left.’ There were six stone water jars, each one holding about a hundred litres. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water. They filled them to the brim. Then he told them to draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast. They took him the water which now had turned into wine and he tasted it. He did not know where this wine had come from. So he called the bridegroom and told him that the best wine should come first. He asked him where he had kept that best wine until late. One of the teenagers asked the elder, how the water turned into wine. Another teenager answered quickly, ‘that is a miracle!’ (John 2:1-12).
Throughout his ministry, Jesus performed a number of miracles. The miracles of Jesus are the supernatural deeds found in Christian and Islamic texts. He performed them to prove his Messianic powers and prove he was the Saviour. Some of Jesus’ miracles are:
• The cure of the noble man’s son: He cured the noble man’s son at Cana of Galilee. A nobleman asked Jesus to go to Capernaum and heal his son who was about to die. Jesus healed the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54).
• The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law: After worshipping God in the synagogue, Christ and his disciples went to Peter’s house. There Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law who had a fever (Matthew 8:14-15).
• The driving out of an evil spirit: He ordered out an unclean spirit from a man. Jesus was preaching in the synagogue when a man with an evil spirit came in. Jesus ordered the spirit to be quiet and to come out of the man (Mark 1:23-28).
Fig. 2.6: Peter and his brother fishing
• The great catch of fish: Simon Peter and others had fished the whole night and caught nothing. When
they were retiring home Jesus told them to put the net back into the sea. They got more than the
expected (Luke 5:1-11).
• The healing of the daughter of a Canaanite woman: The daughter had a demon that made her
condition terrible (Matthew 15: 22-28).
Fig. 2.7: Jesus heals the blind man
• The healing of a man born blind: Jesus restored sight to a man born blind. Some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes and he received healing(Mark 8:22-26).
• The feeding of the five thousand: He told his disciples to make people sit down and eat because they were tired and hungry. Jesus fed at least five thousand people with two fish and five loaves of bread. They all ate and had enough and there were twelve baskets of left overs (Luke 9:10-17).
According to John’s gospel, Jesus did many more miracles. If every one of them was written down, the books could have been so many.
The miracles increased people’s faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. They proved that he was the Messiah who came to save people from their sin and suffering. They showed that he had come to change people’s lives and bring them closer to God. In order to receive a miracle, one had to have faith.
In small groups, memorise five miracles that Jesus performed. Write them on clean pieces of paper. Share them with other groups for comparison.
Parables of Jesus Christ
Use the Bible and the internet in your research. From Luke’s Gospel, list down any three parables that Jesus used in his teachings.
A parable is a short story designed to teach some truth, religious principles or moral statements.
After his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus started teaching in parables.
His disciples wanted to know why he started using parables. He told them that they had been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven but to others it had not been granted (Matthew 13: 11).
The parables present clear stories from every day events. The crowds would recognise and understand the relationship between the story and the events. They would comprehend the stories related to their lives. Some of these parables are:
1. The parable of the sower: It is about a man who went to sow corn. The scattered seeds fell on different types of ground. The seed represents the word of God. The different types of ground represent the different people who receive the word. We should obey the word of God and put it into practise (Luke 8:5-15).
Fig. 2.9: The sower and the seeds that fell on the path
Fig. 2.10: The sower and the seeds that fell on the rock
2. The parable of a covered lamp: When we light a lamp, it should be put on a lamp stand. We should listen to the word of God and lead by example
2. The parable of the unforgiving servant: There was once a servant who owed a king millions of pounds. He begged the king to be patient with him and the king forgave him. After the king forgave him, he too met one of his fellow-servants who owed him a few pounds. He grabbed him and told him to pay what he owed him. When the king learnt about it, he became very angry. He sent him to jail until he paid the whole amount of the debt (Matthew 18:21-35).
3. The parable of the prodigal son: A man had two sons. The young one asked for his share of the property and his father gave it to him. He sold his share and wasted it in a far country. After realising his mistakes, he asked for forgiveness. His father forgave and accepted him back home (Luke 15: 11-32).
Fig 2.14: The prodigal son coming home after he realised his mistakes
It should be noted that the parables divided the crowd into two groups. Parables would also bring people closer to Jesus and prove that he was truly human. He was familiar with everyday life experiences.
Jesus’ public ministry was misunderstood by of the Pharisees, priests and scribes. They then planned to kill him.
Arrest of Jesus and charges against him
The following were the accusations against Jesus:
• Mixing with sinners and tax collectors.
• Blasphemy. Calling himself the Son of God was a crime which was punishable by death (stoning).
• Possession by demonic power.
• False prophecy that the temple would be destroyed.
The Jewish religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus because of the charges against him. They bribed Judas Iscariot to betray him. Judas betrayed Jesus during the Last Supper. Jesus was arrested and tried. Finally, they judged that he deserved a death sentence as a blasphemer.
Fig. 2.15: Judas kissing Jesus before the crowd
2.1.3 Crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus
Study the above picture and briefly write the events that led to its occurrence.
In life, there are situations or events that bring sorrow to our lives. There are also times of happiness. We feel very sad when a family member is sick or dies. We should give thanks to God in times of happiness and in times of sorrow.
The passion and death of Jesus took place at a time famously known as the week of passion. The week of passion began with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus told the twelve disciples that what was written was about to be fulfilled. Grief and anguish came over him but he continued to pray. Then the hour came when he was going to be handed over to the power of sinners. One of the disciples called Judas Iscariot, went straight to Jesus and kissed him. After Judas had kissed Jesus, the crowd armed with swords came and arrested Jesus.
Jesus was tried before Pilate as the crowd chanted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’So Pilate sentenced him as the crowd had requested. Barabbas who was in prison was set free as Jesus was sentenced to death.
The crowd followed Jesus, among them were women who were weeping. Turning to them, Jesus said, ‘daughters of Jerusalem do not weep for me’. He told them to weep for themselves and for their children. For days were about to come in which they would say blessed are the barren wombs that never bore and breasts which never nursed (Luke 23:26-43).
The criminal on his left scorned him, ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ However, the other one rebuked him saying, ‘do you not fear God for you are under one condemnation.’ Jesus promised to be with him in paradise that day.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour it was dark. Jesus cried out, ‘Father into your hands I place my spirit’. Having said this he breathed his last. A man named Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Council who had not agreed to their decision asked for the body of Jesus. He buried him in his own grave. The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee went and observed the tomb (Luke 23:44-49).
On the third day, women went to the tomb early in the morning and found it empty. Suddenly, two men in bright shining clothes told them, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? He is not here, he has been raised’ (Luke 24: 6). They remembered his words and returned from the tomb and told the rest of the apostles. Peter ran to the tomb but he saw only the linen cloths lying there.
When two of his disciples were traveling to Emmaus, Jesus appeared to them. He asked them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?” One called Cleopas asked Jesus, ‘Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem that doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?
Jesus thereafter revealed himself to the disciples as he sat at the table with them. He took bread blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they knew him and he disappeared from their sight. They went to Jerusalem and told his disciples but Thomas doubted until Jesus appeared to them. They were amazed when he showed them his hands and his feet. He asked for food and they gave him fish. Jesus took it and ate in their presence. That was when they realised that he had indeed resurrected (Luke 24: 13-35).
Later Jesus ascended into heaven. He had commissioned his disciples to go and preach the Good News. He commanded them to preach to the rest of the world starting from Jerusalem.
2.2 Duties and rights of a Christian
2.2.1 Duties of a Christian
Discuss the importance of living a Christian life, both as an individual and as a member of the society.
In every country, citizens have certain obligations that they are required to fulfill. They vary from country to country. The Kingdom of God is no exception. Christians have obligations and duties to carry out. We should remember that a Christian is a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He or she is also a citizen to the country to which he or she belongs. For a Christian, duties to God come first. Jesus taught his followers to seek first the Kingdom of God and all the rest would follow. A Christian’s duties to God include serving other human beings because that is God’s will.
A Christian’s duties to God include the following:
a. To have faith in God as our creator, provider of our needs and sustainer of our lives.
b. To worship God. Christians have a duty to praise God and appreciate His greatness and sovereignty.
We should also worship God and thank Him.
c. To pray to God. To Christians, prayer is a communication with God to thank Him, ask for forgiveness
and make requests for our needs.
d. To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and win more souls for God’s Kingdom.
e. To pay tithe and help in the building of the church as the house of God. This is for the benefit of the
whole Christian community in the area.
f. A Christian should follow the Ten Commandments just like Jesus did.
They should avoid evil such as murder, theft and adultery.
g. Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus. They should be simple, child -like, meek, humble, impartial and gentle. They are supposed to be humble like a dove and clever like a serpent.
h. Christians are called upon to desist from loving money too much. For the love of money is the source of all evil.
i. Reading the Scripture. Christ commanded his followers to search the Scriptures for in them we find the truth and have eternal life.
j. Christians have the duty to condemn evil in the society.
k. As followers of Jesus Christ, Christians are required to submit to him and obey his teachings. They should repent of their sins, forgive others, practise justice, resist temptations and be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. They should promote peace and avoid vengeance.
l. A Christian should help the needy and show them love. They should share wealth with the less fortunate, donate food, clothing and perform other acts of charity.
m. Christians are duty bound to protect and preserve the environment as God’s creation. For example, as Christians and citizens of Rwanda we should also participate in Umuganda. This is because we want to live in a clean country.
n. It is the duty of a Christian to set a good example to others by leading a righteous life. Jesus told his followers that they should be the light of the world.
A Christian should be careful of what he or she says. The tongue, small as it is can bring a lot of trouble just like a match stick.
Christians are supposed to be peaceful, strive to make and maintain peace in the community and avoid revenge.
Some of the duties of a Christian as a citizen of his or her country are:
a. To pay taxes to the government.
b. To respect those in authority, such as government and church leaders. It is important to note that all
authority comes from God.
c. To elect their government leaders. Christians should vote and support their elected leaders.
Read through the first set of duties of a Christian. Mention three that apply in both cases as duties to God and to a country.
2.2.2 Rights of a Christian
Did you know that Christians have rights in our country?
Discuss any three rights Christians have.
Christians like other groups in society have rights and freedoms. Some of these rights are:
• Right to freedom of conscience and thinking.
• Right to work with the government.
• Right to participate in elections, choose leaders or present themselves to be elected.
Fig 2.20: People queueing to cast their votes
• Right to condemn any bad acts by the state, individuals or church leaders.
• Right to be heard in legal ways. For instance, in case a Christian is offended he or she has a right to go to
court and be heard.
• Right to marry a person of his or her choice. Christian marriage is between a man and a woman.
It is important to bear in mind that, as Christians exercise their rights and freedom that they should seek God’s guidance as all wisdom comes from God.
All men are created equal in the image of God. We should give respect to others in a dignified way. We are all wonderfully made in God’s image.
2.3 The importance of Christianity
The story of Uwamahoro and Mugisha
Uwamahoro and Mugisha are Senior One students in Kigali International Community School. Uwamahoro was brought up in a Christian family. Her father was a church elder. Her mother too used to clean the church compound daily. They always prayed together as a family in the morning and in the evening. Her parents were always honest and faithful. Uwamahoro turned out to be a very rude and bad girl in the village. However much her parents tried to correct her, she could not change for any better. This was all because of the bad friends she chose.
On the other hand, Mugisha was brought up in a family where members did not go to church. They used to rest at home while drinking wine and beer. Mugisha was very obedient to his parents and the village members. Later, they became independent from their parents.
Uwamahoro remembered the honest and faithful life her parents lived. She started living according to the Christian values and skills her parents had showed her on. She lived a happy and comfortable life afterwards.
For his part, Mugisha continued with life the way his parents brought him up. It became very difficult for him to stop drinking. He then became an alcoholic and could not manage his own life. People in the village were tired of solving his conflicts from time to time. He ended up being locked up in jail.
Explain how Mugisha’s life was influenced by his family background.
Christianity is important in society because it plays an important role in history. Christianity is one of the world’s leading religions. It has over two billion people following its teachings and beliefs. It has shaped the moral values and moral actions in the society.
Moral values lead to a healthy life!
This has helped our society to deal with matters such as human sexuality and HIV and AIDS.
• Christianity helps people to have deeper relationship with God. It also makes them live a just and moral
• Christianity has many teachings about fellowship and how to live a good life It therefore influences
believers in their daily lives. It also helps them how to relate with their neighbours emphasising love of
• Christians strive to have attributes such as kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice.
These direct them to help the needy and the disadvantaged in society such as theorphans and the sick.
• Christianity helps people live in peace and harmony. It promotes the unity of the communities in our
• It helps society build good homes and families. For instance, church groups assist people to build their
• Christianity helps Christians to understand the purpose of marriage and the dangers of divorce (Matthew
• Christianity helps individuals to work for the Kingdom of God and gain salvation.
• Christianity emphasises values such as humility, loyalty and respect. These attributes help people to live
in peace and harmony.
1. Christianity has helped the society learn reconciliation, forgiveness and avoiding revenge. These promoted unity, peace and reconciliation after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
2. It is the duty of every Christian to respect leaders on earth. This is because all authority comes from God. On the other hand, a Christian has a right to reject bad governance.
3. The attributes and values of Christianity help shape Christian behaviour in society. This has promoted a standardised way of living.
• Jesus is the centre of Christianity. The birth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah was foretold in the Old Testament. He would come from the house of David. He would save people from their sins.
• When the time came, Jesus was born as it was foretold. He was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth. Herod made plans to kill Jesus but through the divine intervention he survived. He was baptised by John the Baptist in River Jordan.
• After baptism Jesus started his ministry. He began on his Ministry through calling of the disciples, preaching, praying and fasting.
• Crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus: Jesus was tried before Pilate and was sentenced to death. He cried out to God and breathed his last. He was buried and on the third day he rose from among the dead.
• Duties of a Christian: Christians have duties to serve both in their government and in God’s Kingdom. Christians should seek the Kingdom of God first and other things will follow. In the government, Christians should pay taxes, respect those in authority and elect leaders.
• Rights of a Christian: Christians have rights and freedoms such as freedom of conscience and thinking. They also have a right to participate in elections and be heard in legal ways.
• Christianity is important to an individual and the society. It has shaped the moral and spiritual values of the society.
1. Who brought Good News to Mary about the birth of Jesus?
2. List three groups that Jesus said will be blessed during the Sermon on the Mount.
3. Explain any two parables that Jesus used in his teachings.
4. Describe three duties of a Christian in the society today.
5. State four ways in which Christianity is important in society.Unit 2:The Christian life and values
- Unit 3:Peace in the societyUnit 3:Peace in the society
Key unit competency:
By the end of the unit, you will be able to participate in activities promoting peace and conflict resolution.
3.1 Peace and its Principles
3.1.1 Meaning of peace
The story of our village
In a village of Nyakagarama, neighbours did not love each other. Nobody cared for the welfare or interest of another. It happened that the family of Mr Thomas were richer than their neighbours. As a result, all the neighbours hated him most. However, Mr Thomas allowed the neighbours to draw water at his home, borrow seats and tents when they had a function and helped them financially when they were in need. He could sacrifice his vehicle and time in helping his neighbours.
One day, thieves broke into his homestead. They stole all the tents, seats, water pipes and packed them into his lorry and left with his other car. To his surprise, the neighbours were very happy about the incident. Some of them could be heard saying they were now equal.
Days passed and there was no hope of getting the stolen property back. Mr Thomas’ neighbours had to walk long distances to look for water. Mr Thomas was no longer in a position to help them when they were in need. The neighbours suffered much and regretted why they didn’t show sympathy to Mr Thomas.
After a while, they realised their mistakes. They went back to Mr Thomas and apologised. They later agreed to work together for the peace and benefit of their community. Within a week, the stolen property was found and the culprits (thieves) were reported to the authority.
The absence of unpleasant thoughts and emotions against each other is peace. The Biblical understanding of peace is wholeness or completeness and unity. Peace refers to restored relationships, where conflicts are resolved and people go about their daily affairs freely without disturbances.
Peace does not merely mean absence of war. This is just one type of peace.
3.1.2 Types of peace
There are three types of peace. These are:
(i) Inner peace
This is the quiet, restfulness of the soul. It means the peace of the heart free from anger, hatred and violence.
(ii) Outer peace
This is concerned with the people we associate with and the environment we are in. It is the visible absence of war and other disturbances. This also implies the absence of evils and injustices.
(iii) World peace
This is for the global community as a whole. It is the struggle for the whole world to restore peace and campaign against all kinds of violence and terrorism. Peace is a concern for all human beings.
When you look at the three types of peace you will realise they are connected. Can you see the connection? For example, when we have inner peace we shall not keep hatred or ill feelings against others. Therefore, we shall be able to avoid conflicts and wars.
3.1.3 Peace principles
A society or an individual is considered to be at peace if there is a fulfillment of the following principles:
Tolerance - This is the ability to endure pain, acceptance or patience with the opinion and views of others. This enables one to put up with beliefs and behaviour that are different from their own. This should be true even if they do not approve of such behaviour. Tolerance reduces conflicts.
Unity - This is where people can live as one entity despite their tribal, religious, political or economic differences. This principle discourages discrimination and promotes cooperation.
Reconciliation - This is the act of getting two things to be compatible with one another. Reconciliation also refers to restoration of friendly relations. Before we reconcile, we must be willing to ask for forgiveness and also to forgive. Forgiveness is a process whereby the offended party gives up the right to enforce justice. Therefore, forgiveness involves a two way transaction; the humbling and asking for forgiveness by the offender and the release of the right of the offended to enforce justice.
Justice and rule of law - This involves fairness or impartiality especially with regard to punishing wrongdoers. The rule of law is enforced by law courts to ensure the accused persons are given fair trials and judgements.
Respect of human rights and dignity - This principle demands that nobody should violate the rights of others. All human beings have equal dignity. Respect for human rights promotes justice and peace.
Solidarity - This means to be united for a common goal or against a common enemy. The principle of solidarity ensures that people stand together in support of one another even in difficult situations.
Love and forgiveness - Love enables a person to care for the welfare of others. True love enables one to forgive those who offend them. This encourages reconciliation. Jesus taught his followers to love and forgive one another including their enemies.
It is upon every citizen to strive to ensure they uphold these fundamental principles. They will help them in their daily lives to promote peace in society.
People have to make deliberate efforts to build peace. Can you think about what you can do to promote peace in your school or at home?
3.1.4 Peace building
Components of peace building
Peace building is an intervention or measure that is put in place to prevent the start or re-occurrence of violent conflicts. Peace building should focus on pre-conflict and not post-conflict. The aim is to prevent a conflict from happening not resolving it after. When people engage in peace building measures, they can attain sustainable (long lasting) peace.
The tasks in peace building vary. They depend on the situation and the agent of peace building activities. They create an environment that is supportive of:
• Durable peace. • Reconciliation with opponents.
• Prevention of conflicts from the start. • Integration of civil society.
• Trauma counseling. • Economic development.
• Infrastructural development.
• Social stability and rule of law.
• Creation of democratic and legitimate institutions.
• Addressing underlying structural and societal issues.
• Addressing social, psychological and emotional conditions.
• Environmental awareness, conservation and sustainability.
Peace building in Rwanda
In groups of five, discuss the following questions:
1. What lessons can you learn from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis?
2. Identify the measures that the government put in place to prevent such an incident from occurring again.
Post 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis has been marked by efforts to rebuild the social fabric of Rwanda. The social fabric was destroyed before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
An example of the organisations started to enhance peace building in Rwanda is ‘NEVER AGAIN Rwanda’. This is a peace building organisation that promotes mutual understanding and respect. It also promotes the use of non-violent conflict resolution processes among citizens. This brings order to build a long lasting peace.
Fig. 3.1: Never Again Rwanda
Activities in this programme are aimed at informing and educating the society. It shows how we can effectively prevent Genocide and work towards a sustainable peace.
NEVER AGAIN Rwanda, provides space for youth from different backgrounds. Here the youth voice their concerns about peace processes in their communities.
It also hosts peace building institutes twice a year. The institutes bring young people across the world together to discuss and learn about Genocide. Under Genocide they learn about history, prevention, transitional justice, good governance and development.
It also organises genocide commemoration efforts every year in April. This ensures that people remember and learn from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
Peace building programmes include organising essay writing competitions. In the competitions entrants write about peace related topics, long term peace and make proposals to overcome conflicts.
The Great Lakes peace building programme works to promote education and cross boarder dialogue for peace. This enables us to prevent conflicts and prepare future generations to cope with challenges. It also does research on conflict related issues, hosts radio programmes and builds capacities in civil society organisations.
3.1.5 The role of women in peace building
Identify women who have participated in enhancing and maintaining peace in the world, especially in our Rwandan society.
In the past, women played a limited role in the peace building process. They have played the following roles:
• Have been representatives in peace negotiations.
• Participated in political decision making processes.
• Participated in policy making, implementation and judicial positions.
• Participated in economic recovery and reconciliation programmes.
• Participated in political legislations and good governance.
It should be noted that female leaders have played a role on peace building in their countries. These women include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Michele Bachelet of Chile. There is also Catherine Samba-Panza of the Central African Republic and Mother Teresa of India.
These women have used their prowess (gender) to harness the power of material symbolism. This is in the hope that a woman could best use words to bring peace in their societies affected by war and dictatorship.
In Rwanda, former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana played a big role in negotiating for peace. She was in government before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. Unfortunately she was assassinated at the beginning of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. She is remembered as a National heroine of our country.
Major organisations involved in peace building and peace keeping
Identify any organisation involved in peace building in our country. What impact has it created in our country?
There are a number of organisations, agencies and government entities that are involved in peace building. They are both local and international levels. They include the following:
A. Government entities:
• National Unity and Reconcilliation Commission (NURC)
• Ministry in charge of Security
• Itorero ry’Igihugu
• Peace Courts
• UN Peace Commission
• Never Again Rwanda
• Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace
• AEGIS Trust
3.2 Peace and conflict in the society
3.2.1 Causes of conflict in society
(a) Causes of conflict in a family
In groups of five discuss the following questions. Thereafter, appoint one of the group members to write down your findings. After the discussion let one of the group members present their findings to the whole class.
1. Why do parents argue?
2. Identify the reasons why children hate their parents sometimes.
3. Suggest ways of uniting children whose parents and guardians are unable to handle.
4. How does one feel after being reconciled with the other person or party?
Some of the causes of conflicts in a family are:
• Religious differences
• Drug abuse
• Infertility of one of the partners
• Lack of discipline and respect among children
• Influence by the extended family members or in-laws
• Traditional cultural beliefs and custom
How does each of the causes mentioned lead to conflict?
A Case Study
(A quarrel between a brother and a sister. Their mothers are different but from the same father)
Gahigi : Good evening my sister?
Uwase : I am fine my brother.
Gahigi : Since our father died last year, there are rumours going round that you want a share in our father’s
Uwase : That is not a rumour my brother! Truth be told, even if I am married, I rightfully deserve a share in
my father’s property.
Gahigi : Here, on earth, no! no! no! no!, it cannot work.
Uwase : We are living in the 21st Century. My children will not miss out going to school. Our constitution
promotes equality for all.
Gahigi : Did I choose a poor husband for you? It is good for you to go back and take care of your family.
Uwase : I have given you enough time to think about the whole issue. I will come next month to have my
share before you settle to marry.
1. State the causes of conflict between Gahigi and Uwase.
2. Discuss why you think Uwase should get a share in her father’s property.
(b) Causes of conflict in schools
Discuss the causes of conflict in your class.
Causes of conflicts in schools include:
• Teasing and bullying of weak or new students.
• Selfishness and failure to share the available resources equally.
• Hatred between students and their colleagues and sometimes teachers.
• Theft, that is, there are some students who have a tendency to steal from others.
• Gender differences. Some students and teachers think that one gender group is better than the other.
• Discrimination. Here you find that certain groups or individuals athink they are better than others.
• Corporal punishment. Some students may be punished beyond the required standard for the mistake
• Alcohol, drug and substance abuse by students. Students may get access to alcohol and drugs which
may affect their way of thinking.
• Rebellion by some students who may not want to obey school rules or their teachers.
(c) Causes of conflict in governments
Form two groups and dramatise causes of conflict in governments.
• Greed for power: This is a common cause of conflicts in most governments in Africa.
• Lack of respect to citizens: This is done especially by leaders to the people they lead.
Good leaders should respect and serve their citizens well.
• Pride and prejudice: Some people have pride in their tribes and do not respect the members of other
tribes. This happens especially to those working together in the government
• Discrimination: Gender differences and failure to recognise the role of women in society.
These may lead to conflicts between men and women. Discrimination based on race, religion and ethnicity brings clashes between people.
Commandments like laws are very important in society. The Ten Commandments guided the Israelites and helped them live in peace and harmony. These commandments were not changed by Jesus but he emphasised that the most important one is love
• In places of work conflicts are caused by poor remuneration of workers and poor working conditions.
Other causes of conflict include delayed payments and favoritism.
• Governance which is oppressive and autocratic can lead to conflicts.
Clash of political views and denying people opportunities to express themselves also cause conflicts.
• Political differences: Failure to realise and accept our differences especially political differences has led to wars and political instability in Africa and other regions.
All people were created equal!
God created both male and female. We were all created equal but gifted differently. There are those who are good at arts and there are those good at sciences.
(d) Conflicts in the society
There was once an organised sports competition between two groups. When they were about to enter the field, an argument arose. This was because of the scarcity of the available resources. One group was to be given sports shoes and the other one to wear vests. The ones with vests were not to wear sports shoes.
Supposing that you were the referee, what criteria would you have used to determine the group to be given sports shoes or vests?
The disagreement between the two groups is a type of conflict. There are many definitions of conflicts.
A conflict is a clash or disagreement between two opposing groups or individuals. Conflict can also be defined as opposing ideas and actions in different entities thus resulting in an antagonistic state.
A conflict is an inevitable part of life. Each of us possesses our own opinions, ideas and sets of beliefs. We have our own ways of looking at things and we act according to what we think is proper. Hence, we find ourselves in conflicts in different scenarios. Conflicts may involve groups of people, individuals or a struggle within ourselves. Consequently conflicts influence our actions and decisions in one way or the other.
Types of conflicts
Conflicts can be classified into the following four types.
1. Interpersonal conflicts
This refers to a conflict between two individuals. This is because people are different from one another. We have different personalities. For example, some people get easily irritated, some are emotional, while others are slow to anger.
2. Intra personal conflicts
These occur within an individual. The experience takes place in a person’s mind. This conflict is psychological as it involves the individual’s thoughts, values, principles and emotions. Intra personal conflict may be a simple one like making a decision between going or not going for lunch.
3. Intra group conflicts
This is a type of conflict that happens among individuals within a team or a group. The differences and misunderstanding among these individuals lead to an intra group conflict. For instance, group members might find themselves holding or expressing different opinions over an issue. Within a team conflicts can be handled carefully to reach a common objective. However, the level of differences in opinion may disrupt harmony among the members. This may require some guidance from a different party.
4. Intergroup conflicts
This takes place when misunderstanding arises among different teams within an organisation. For instance, the discipline department of a school can come into conflict with the academic department. This is due to the varied interests and a set of goals of these different groups. Also competition contributes to intergroup conflicts. There are other factors which fuel this type of conflict. Some of these factors may include rivalry for resources or the boundaries. This may be set by a group to others which establishes their own identity as a team.
However, conflicts should be avoided by all means. Conflicts should not be allowed to slow down productivity and give way to more conflicts. Conflict management will be needed to bring a resolution if a conflict is complex.
Examples of conflict in Africa
(a) Ethnic differences: Ethnic differences have caused many clashes in Africa.
For example in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
(b) Militia groups: In Nigeria, a rebel group called Boko Haram has caused fear in the northern part of the country. The group is also a threat to the neighbouring countries such as Chad.
(c) Uprisings: In North Africa, uprisings caused the change of governments in countries such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
(d) Post election clashes: In Kenya, the 2007/2008 post election violence started as the results of the disputed 2007 General Elections. This led to the killing of more than 1,300 people. There was also the displacement of more than 500, 000 people from their homes.
(e) Civil wars: Africa has had many cases of civil wars especially where secessionist movements try to set up independent states. For example, the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo was fighting for its own independence between 1960 and 1963.
Other causes of conflict in the society
List four examples of natural resources that cause conflicts in society.
Remember the family is the smallest unit of any society. Therefore, some of the causes of family conflicts apply here. Causes of conflict in society include:
• Poverty: Poverty is a major cause of conflicts in many societies. Greed and desire for material wealth leads to inequitable distribution of resources. Many people are greedy and are never satisfied with the little or the much they have. They will look for more and more to the extent of taking other people’s lives.
• Witchcraft: In many societies witchcraft is considered as a solution to problems. However, this is not true because it causes more problems to individuals and families. Witchcraft may lead to death and permanent rifts between members of the family and society.
• Competition for resources: This is especially in communities that share natural resources. There should be guidelines on how to share the available resources. For example, in Rwanda we need to protect our natural forests.
• Religious differences and intolerance: When people have a clash of religious beliefs or views, there may arise a conflict. This contributes to conflicts in some countries.
• Negative ethnicity: Some comunities have superiority complex leading to clashes with those they believe to be inferior
3.2.2 Consequences of conflicts in the society
Draw a picture showing the consequences of conflicts in our society.
The result of conflicts is always bad. We should therefore solve a conflict in time before we suffer the consequences. The following are some of the consequences of conflicts in the society:
• Increase in stress among people: When people’s needs are not met, they will end up being stressed and not settled.
• Strained relationships due to ill feelings: When a conflict is not solved well among the parties involved, the ill feelings always remain.
• Increase in possibilities of violence: Where there are conflicts among the people, there will always be a spirit of vengeance or revenge.
• Underdevelopment: This is especially in countries that have had long periods of war. War wastes a lot of resources such as human beings and money
• Diseases and catastrophes: They come up due to poor medical care as a result of wars.
• Poverty: It increases in many homes that have less time dedicated to work.
• The little money available is subjected to unproductive activities.
• Hunger and famine: Conflicts lead to loss of resources such as food crops.
• Divorce, separation and family breakups: Family conflicts if not solved early may end up to breaking up of families.
Fig. 3.10: A man and a woman arguing
• School drop outs and associated evils such as early marriages and child labour.
• Drug abuse and alcoholism: This reduces the rate of production especially among the youth.
• Increase in crime rate: Some conflicts make people hopeless and lonely. They therefore opt to other criminal activities such as robberies.
• Death and population decline: Conflicts such as war leads to loss of lives.
• Displacement of people in case of wars: For example, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, many people were displaced.
• Destruction of property: Conflicts like civil wars lead to the loss of properties such as houses.
• Unemployment: Many people lose their jobs after being in conflict with their employers. In other cases, companies close down.
These negative effects of conflict can lead to disintegration of families and the society at large. It is important to provide a timely intervention to resolve the conflict.
Show me a peaceful nation I show you a healthy population
We should promote peace and values education at all levels.
From individuals, families and the society at large.
Conflicts should not be understood solely as an inherently negative and destructive occurrence. They should also be considered as potentially positive and productive for change. In some societies, conflicts bring about positive changes especially in governments. Conflicts can be seen as an opportunity for learning and understanding our differences. We can live harmoniously despite conflicts as long as we know how to responsibly manage these struggles.
3.3 Biblical teachings on peace and conflict
In groups of five, visit the library and read about peace from the reference books. Thereafter, brainstorm on the main points. Write down your points and present them to the whole class.
You can also refer to John 14:27.
According to the Bible, God is the source of peace. There is no other source of peace. It describes peace as that which surpasses human understanding.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, it brought conflict between themselves and God. Before disobedience, human beings lived in perfect peace.
Peace, according to the book of Isaiah comes to those who trust in the Lord. They will have a perfect peace because their minds are steadfast (Isaiah 26:3).
The beatitudes that Jesus taught present peace as a source of blessings. For instance, happy are the peace makers for they shall be called children of God
Jesus came so that mankind could have an everlasting peace, despite tribulations (hard times and many trials). He was a peaceful Messiah. He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey which was a symbol of peace. Christians should always be happy since Christ has overcome the world.
The peace that Jesus gives Christians is different from the one the world gives. As he was about to ascend to heaven he said ‘I leave you peace not as the world gives’. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
The story of Cain and Abel shows brothers competing for favours from God (Genesis 4:1-24). They competed to the extent of one killing the other. Wickedness caused conflict leading to curse.
We should pray and put our request to God who has a perfect peace that surpasses all understanding. His peace will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7).
Christian believers can sleep at night knowing that they are at peace with God. But the wicked do not have that kind of peace.
King Ahab wanted to own Naboth’s vineyard because it was near his palace. Naboth refused to give him the ancestral land. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel planned and killed Naboth so that they can get his land (1st Kings 21).
Peace is a free gift from God that He can give anytime, anywhere and in every way, (2nd Thessalonians 3:16).
Life is sacred!
In the Bible Cain killed Abel. He later lived a miserable life. As Christians, we should not kill each other, regardless of gender, tribe, religion, age or wealth. We should love and care for each other, just as God loves us.
3.4 Conflict resolution and prevention
The story of Mugwaneza and Gasimba
Mugwaneza and Gasimba were still fighting in the field when Akaliza arrived. They were fighting over a lost pen they found in the field. Each one of them claimed that the pen belonged to them. Nobody wanted to lose the fight.
Akaliza stopped them from fighting and requested them to give her the pen. Because she was a friend and classmate to both, they gave her the pen. Then she asked them who was the real owner but both claimed ownership. She told them that she, as the mediator, would take the pen. Gasimba became happy that neither of them would get the pen. Mugwaneza looked innocent as she said she did not have a pen to use in class.
Akaliza decided to take the pen to class without the two. She went entered the classroom and asked other students about the pen. Those close to Mugwaneza confirmed that the pen belonged to her. She called the two and gave the pen to Mugwaneza because she was convinced that the pen belonged to her. After that clear evidence, Gasimba said that he only admired the pen. He therefore agreed to buy five pens for her as they shook hands.
1. From the above story did you know that it was good to be honest? Explain
2. Identify the evidence that the two classmates in conflict were eventually reconciled.
The way in which two or more parties find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them is called conflict resolution. The conflicts may be personal, financial, political or emotional. When a dispute arises often the best course of action is to resolve it. This is called reconciliation. The story of Mugwenza and Gasimba is a good example of conflict resolution. What steps did Akaliza take to help her two friends resolve their conflict?
Conflicts can be resolved in the following ways:
Firstly, understand the conflict. You cannot solve a conflict unless you know the origin and cause of the conflict. Understand your interests, what you want, what you need, your concerns, hopes and fears. Ensure that you also prepare for possible outcomes.
Communicate with the opposition. It is important to communicate with the opposing parties to know their interests and fears.
Brainstorm for possible solutions. Think carefully how you will set up a meeting very quickly to save the situation.
Look for a win-win solution or compromise.
Choose the best resolution. Listen to all alternatives before you make the best resolution.
Use a third party or mediator. Look for a person who is neutral who is not in your group to mediate. This may be a lawyer, a relative or a church leader.
Explore alternatives. Think of alternatives before you meet your opponent. You should think of an alternative which is realistic and practical.
Cope with stressful situations and pressure tactics. Learn how to cope with situations in case the opponent is stubborn or does not cooperate.
The Christian way of solving conflicts involves prayer. Our Lord’s Prayer is a good example because it demands us to forgive those who wrong us.
A Genocide perpetrator before the Gacaca court
“My name is Theodate Mukankubana. I am from Sector Nyamata. I stand before you this afternoon to confess my role in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. It was on May 22nd 1994 when a group of my friends came to my house. They were armed with machetes, stones and arrows. They convinced me that we go to my neighbour Mihigo’s house and kill him and his family. I tried to convince them not to kill him but instead they became violent with me. Finally, I was forced to go. We found Mihigo and his two little children in the house. It was terrible killing that family with whom we had shared a lot before. Mihigo died shouting my name for help, Theodate! Theodate! Theodate, don’t kill me. But we had to kill him and his wife. Lucky enough, the children were hiding on a tree outside their house.
Since then I am continually disturbed within myself. I therefore ask for forgiveness before God and before you the loving people of Rwanda.”
1. What lesson can you learn from the story?
2. If you were asked to respond to Theodate, what would you tell him?
3. What advice can you give to the children who survived?
If a Christian has a conflict with a fellow Christian he should follow the following steps to resolve it:
Tell the one you are conflicting with about your dissatisfaction.
If he or she does not listen to you take with you one or two other people.
If he or she refuses to listen take the matter to church elders or council.
To resolve a conflict, stop judging others. First judge yourself before you start judging others.
Humble yourself before God. We are supposed to submit to God, resist the devil and repent all of our sins.
Today some of the conflicts can be settled in courts of laws by judges and magistrates. They can also be settled by traditional courts like Gacaca or Abunzi. Originally, Gacaca gathering were meant to restore peace and harmony within communities. It was about people acknowledging their wrongs and seeking justice to the victims.
In conflict resolution the best solution is to find the solution that is best for both of you. Although this is not always possible, you should use all the possible means to have the conflict resolved. Gacaca has promoted unity among the people of Rwanda since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. The perpetrators stand before the court and they agree to the Genocide claims against them. They are allowed to ask for forgiveness and when the local people are convinced, they will forgive them.
Most of the conflicts in society are related to political power and the economic resources. There should be a study of peace and values education. This is important in the establishment of peace and moral values in society. Conflict resolution is crucial in healing the wounds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. It will also help in preventing such occurrence in the future. This also helps in
cultural standardisation and quality principles.
• Peace can be defined as harmonious relationship within oneself, with others or in the world as a whole.
• Fundamental principles of peace: These are principles for a society to be considered at peace. They include tolerance, unity, reconciliation respect of human rights and dignity and solidarity.
• Conflict resolution and peace building: The major aim of conflict resolution is to prevent a conflict from happening.
• The role of women in peace building: Women have played a key role in peace building throughout the world. Some of them include Mother Teresa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Agatha Uwilingiyiamana.
• Conflicts in the society: Conflicts in the society may include interpersonal, intra personal and intergroup. Conflicts in the society come because of poverty, witchcraft and negative ethnicity.
• Causes of conflict in a family: These causes include poverty, unfaithfulness and religious differences.
• Causes of conflict in government: They include greed for power and discrimination.
• Causes of conflicts in school: They include gender differences, alcohol, drug and substance abuse.
• Biblical teachings on peace and conflicts: The Bible is a source of peace, for instance Jesus preached about peace and forgiveness. There are also conflicts, for instance King Ahab wanted to take Naboth’s vineyard.
• Conflict resolution and prevention: A conflict should be prevented from happening. If it has happened, it should be resolved as early as possible. Always follow the right steps to resolve a conflict well.
1. There are many definitions of peace. Write down your best.
2. What is a Gacaca court?
3. Give the major causes and effects of conflict in society.
4. Describe ways of resolving conflict as a Christian.
5. Explain any three causes of conflict in government.Unit 3:Peace in the society
- Unit 4:Repentance and BaptismUnit 4:Repentance and Baptism
Key unit competency:
By the end of the unit, you will be able to explain the importance of repentance and baptism in spiritual growth.
4.1 Meaning and importance of baptism and its celebration
Dramatise how baptism is done in your local church.
4.1.1 Meaning of baptism
The term baptism comes from a Greek word ‘baptizein’ which means to dip or to immerse. The act of immersion into water during baptism symbolises burial into Christ’s death. After which the person being baptised symbolically then rises from the dead with him as a new creature (2nd Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism was universally administered to Christian converts joining the Early Church. This was in accordance with Jesus’ command that unless a human being is born of water and Spirit, he or she cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Baptism is a condition of entering the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). Baptism is a ceremony accepted by christians.
4.1.2 Importance of baptism and its celebration
We have noted that baptism was a requirement for new converts who joined the Early Church. They were immersed in water to show they had become members of the community of believers. This sacrament continues to be important to Christian churches today. So what is the importance of baptism?
1. It is an external sign to show a change in one’s heart. This is through repentance and readiness to be united with Jesus Christ.
2. Baptism demonstrates that one has accepted to die and resurrect with Jesus Christ. When one is dipped in water, he or she resurrect with christ.
3. Baptism is a symbol of cleansing of the soul. Being dipped in water is a sign of purification or cleansing.
4. Baptism acts as an outward symbol of rebirth. It is a sign of death of the old self. From then on, one is born again. This makes a new beginning n faith.
5. Baptism make Christians members of the new covenant. It is a symbol of a new relationship between the believer and God. It comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
6. Baptism is a starting point in searching for God and entering into the community of believers. It is a basic requirement for new believers to join the church.
7. Baptism bring believers in union with Christ (Romans 6:3). All those who are baptised become one body with Christ.
8. Baptism is one way of demonstrating submission to Jesus. It makes us his disciples and contributes to the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Jesus commanded his disciples to go to all people and make them his disciples. ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19).
9. Through baptism one receives the Holy Spirit that guides him or her in Christian life. Baptism opens the believer’s life to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables him or her to get the various gifts of the Holy Spirit.
10. Baptism is also important because it reflects the reality of the Trinity.
11. Baptism is important to Christians because it qualifies one to receive other sacraments.
For example, the sacrament of Holy Communion. Without baptism one cannot receive the above sacrament.
Fig. 4.4: Jesus sharing the Holy Communion with his disciples
12. Baptism is important because it makes us accept the suffering of Jesus Christ.
13. Baptism assures the believers of resurrection when Christ comes again.
All those who are baptised believe they will resurrect and enter the heavenly Kingdom.
However, the baptised are challenged to lead a morally right life, that is, by following God’s Commandments to the end in order to be blessed.
Baptism is equated to circumcision in the Old Testament. Paul refers to Baptism of the spirit. He states that we no longer need physical circumcision but rather circumcision of the heart. Circumcision of the heart was commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Basic requirements before Baptism
The practice of baptism varies from one church to another. However, there are some common aspects in its celebration of the sacrament. In all churches there are basic requirements for one to meet before they can be baptized.
These are the requirements that qualify an individual for baptism:
• One must have received instructions on the nature of Christ and the church.
• One must have faith and a believing heart.
This must be based upon one’s sincere determination to do the will of God. Without this determination, the unbeliever cannot obtain true baptism.
• One must repent as a means of reformation of life. This is because God does not compromise with sinners.
An individual has to undergo the preparation stage and meet the requirements. Then he or she is ready for baptism. There are different forms of baptismal rite depending on the particular church involved.
4.2 Different forms of baptismal rite
Fig. 4.5: Baptism by immersing in water
There are two forms of baptismal rite. These are:
1. Immersion in water: This is where one is completely submerged in water. This type of baptism is common among Pentecostal churches and the Seventh Day Adventist.
2. Pouring of water: This is also called infusion. The one administering baptism pours water on the face or forehead. He or she makes a symbol of the cross as they pour water. This is mainly practised in the Roman Catholic Church.
These forms of types of baptism use water and the invocation of the Holy Trinity. Only water can be used and no other substance. There are also churches which allow baptism of children. Others insist on baptism of adults only.
4.2.1 Forms of Baptism in the Bible
The Bible makes reference to two forms of baptism. One is for repentance (done by John the Baptist) and the other for the Holy Spirit (done in Jesus’ name).
However, both baptisms are important. Many churches accept these forms of baptism. At the same time they baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Despite these differences, we should emphasise that baptism is an important rite for Christians as we have already learnt.
4.3 Effect of Baptism and Penance
Discuss the effects of baptism.
The different effects of baptism are signified by physical elements of sacramental rite. Immersion in water signifies death of sinful past and purification. It also signifies change and renewal. Therefore, the two main effects of baptism are purification and new birth in the Holy Spirit.
Through baptism with water, God accepts us as His own children. After baptism onwards, we are part of the Church of Christ.
Those who have been baptised promise to do their best to live a good Christian life. They should reject evil.
The sacrament symbolically washes our original sin, the evil that we inherited from our ancestors.
The sins that were committed before the person was baptised are washed away.
From that moment of baptism the Holy Spirit helps us to live as believers.
Baptism makes the baptised to participate in the divine life of the Holy Trinity. They participate through sanctifying grace and the grace of purification. This brings one to Christ.
It gives one a share in the priesthood of Christ . It also provides the basis for communion with all Christians.
A baptised person belongs forever to Christ. He or she is marked with the indelible mark. They should therefore strive to overcome challenges in life that may weaken their faith in God.
The other effects of baptism are:
Forgiveness of sins: Baptism symbolises that all sins, original and other personal sins, are forgiven.
A new creature: Baptism makes the one who is baptised an adopted child of God. The new creature has become a partaker of divine nature. Their bodies become temple of the Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 6:19).
Sacramental bond of unity of Christians: Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians. They are incorporated into Christ.
A permanent spiritual mark
Baptism seals a Christian with a mark that he or she belongs to Christ. No sin can erase this mark. Baptism is only done once to an individual.
For Catholics, baptism can be given to children on the basis of the faith of their parents. To other Christians, it is for those who have attained the age of independent reasoning. It is also given to adults who are fully prepared for this sacrament.
Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority.
In modern Christianity, pastors and priests administer the sacrament of baptism. In case of approching death, anyone can baptise (for Catholics).
4.4 Sins and their spiritual consequences
What do you understand by the word sin? Can you give examples of sins that people commit?
Sin is violation of God’s or religious laws like commandments. It is caused by human weakness and failure to understand and obey God’s will. Adam and Eve sinned against God when they disobeyed His instructions.
The consequences of sin are bad. Do you remember the consequences of sin after the sin of Adam and Eve? They were punished. The Israelites were also punished by God many times when they disobeyed God’s commandments. They were attacked by their enemies. They suffered from disasters such as drought and famine.
The following is an outline of the consequences of sin:
• When one commits sin the relationship between him or her and others is damaged.
• Sin takes away joy from human beings as well as happiness, peace, freedom and harmony.
• Sin brings about physical, psychological, mental and spiritual suffering.
• When one sins he or she loses the love and trust of God.
• Sin leads to guilt and shame even though it may have been committed in secrecy.
• Sin brings lack of confidence in oneself.
• Sin makes people defenceless and helpless. More often than not when one commits sin he or she shifts their mistakes onto other secondary causes. They blame other people or other factors.
• As a result of the original sin, humankind was sent away from the Garden of Eden.
• This means loss of favours from God (Genesis 3: 23-24). Normally after sin, selfishness follows.
• Sin is a sign of disobedience to God. It is also a desire to act independently or refusal to follow God’s commandments. It breaks one’s relationship with God.
• Sin leads to jealousy, hatred, envy, greed, coveting and enmity. These are common with sinful humankind today.
• It is also indicated in Genesis 3, that after sin the punishment was death. This has not changed upto today.
We can see that sin leads to suffering. We suffer mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We also suffer physically. But through repentance we can receive salvation. We can be forgiven by our Lord Jesus Christ.
4.4.1 Meaning and importance of repentance and its celebration Meaning of repentance
Repentance is the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for doing wrong. It is a change of heart. Repentance involves public confession of sins. Penitence is a sacrament of the new law that instituted was by Christ. In this law, forgiveness of sins after baptism is granted through a priest’s absolution. It is given to those who with true sorrow confess their sins.
It is called a sacrament not simply a function or a ceremony. This is because it is an outward sign instituted by Christ to impact grace to the soul.
The sacrament of penance
Penance is an act which shows that you regret about something that you have done.
This sacrament has many names:
Sacrament of conversion: It makes present Jesus’ call to conversion. It is the first step in returning to the Father (Mark 1:15, Luke 15:18).
Sacrament of penance: It constitutes the Christian sinner’s step of conversion, penance and satisfaction.
Sacrament of forgiveness: Here disclosure and confession are important elements. The penitent gains pardon or peace.
Sacrament of reconciliation: It imparts on the sinner the love of God with whom he or she is reconciled (be reconciled to God).
True penance is the penance of the heart which is the interior conversion.
The internal repentance is the complete life, a conversion to God with all our hearts. It is turning away from evil and feeling sorry towards the sins we have already committed. It is also the desire to change one’s life with hope and trust in God’s mercy and trust.
Forms of repentance
The three main forms of repentance are fasting, prayer and thanksgiving. Matthew 6:1-18. This expresses conversion within ourselves, to God and to other people.
Different Christians have adopted a way of penance according to their doctrine.
Catholics: The individual goes to the priest and recites his or her sins. This involves invocation of God’s mercy and laying hands on the penitent by the priest.
Other Christians: The other Christians are protestants such as Pentecostal Churches. They confess sins by publicly speaking about their sins.
4.4.2 Importance of repentance
Habimana giving a testimony in church
‘I greet you all in Jesus name? I greet you once again... My name is Habimana, I got saved last year and later I was baptised. At first, I felt an inner voice forcing me to come forward and repent my sins. In the process, I also felt that it was very wrong to lose my long time friends. Later, a force stronger in me told me, ‘come to me I will give you a lasting peace’. I decided to share with our church elder about that experience that kept on coming to me.
After a long conversation with the elder, I concluded that it was God’s voice. Then the elder led me into declaring the words of repentance. My fellow believers, from that time I have had a peaceful and forgiving heart.
I have had a good experience with my friends whom I thought I could lose. When I shared my story with them, they also decided to repent and get baptised. Then we formed a group of believers called, ‘a friend’s keeper’. In this group we have the youth, the old men and old women with various disabilities. We aim at making our dreams a reality and to grow together.
I have learnt that there is nobody who is perfect in life.
I have learnt that we all have both strengths and weaknesses.
I have learnt to forgive those who do wrong to me.
I have learnt, I have learnt…………
God bless you all, God bless our beautiful country’.
1. What can you learn from Habimana?
2. Explain your answer in 1 above.
The whole power of the sacrament of repentance is to restore God’s grace in us. It ensures that we join God in an intimate relationship.
This has the following effects:
Reconciliation with God: This is the purpose and the effect of penance. Penance is followed by peace with a strong spiritual consolation.
Reconciliation with the church: Sins breach and damage fraternal communion. Therefore, penance establishes these bonds of believers.
It is the road to the Kingdom of God: Sins prevent us from continuing in the way of salvation. However, penance makes us strong on our road to the Kingdom of God.
Those who support repentance argue that, the Lord instituted the sacrament of repentance. When being raised from the dead he breathed upon his disciples. He said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven’ (John 20:22-23).
God’s servants on earth also have the power to lead you in repenting. For instance, whatever they bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. ‘And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven (Matthew 16:19).
Repentance is a necessary condition for salvation. Nobody can be forgiven of his or her sins unless he or she repents.
Repentance begins with God’s calling. God opens our mind to correctly understand His word and to experience His love and mercy. Then we must pray for His help and study the Scriptures to find out what we need to change.
We should compare our beliefs, behaviour, customs, traditions and thoughts to the holy Bible. God’s word is the only trustworthy standard by which we can measure our attitude and behavior.
Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5: 32).
After John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the Good News from God. He told people, ‘the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel’ (Mark 1:14 -15).
Jesus taught that our most important priority should be to enter the Kingdom of God. In his public ministry Jesus stressed that repentance is important in entering the Kingdom.
The Scripture show God is consistent from the beginning. He has sent His servant with the message, “repent and turn from all your transgressions so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgression which you have committed and get yourselves a new heart and a new Spirit (Ezekiel 18:30-31).
Eternal life in the Kingdom of God is available only to those who repent of their sins. There are no exceptions because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
Prophet Jeremiah also talks of repentance. He says that, the Lord has sent to you all his servants the prophets. Rising early and sending them, but you have not listened
nor inclined your ear to hear. They said repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever (Jeremiah 25:4-5).
Dramatise how repetence is done in your church.
4.4.3 Repentance as an act of change of the heart
Recite the following verse:
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being, the old is gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also
(2nd Corinthians 5:17-18).
Repentance is not only for reforming the person but also an act of change of the heart. It is a change of the mind that leads to a change of actions and behaviour.
When one repents, he or she is expected to totally change his or her actions. These changes include:
• Becoming humble.
• Abandoning some personal desires.
• Stopping to resist God.
• Learning to forgive and reconcile.
• Loving other people and becoming selfless.
• Changing of the mind and a change of direction.
It is changing one’s point of mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ. A person who has truly repented gives a testimony of a changed life.
It is also a change from desire to sin, turning away from sinful life. This makes us obey God and depend on Him.
One cannot get salvation unless he or she has fully repented. This requires change of the heart.
Repentance is when we love others more than we love ourselves. We also turn away from sinning against our brothers and sisters in our daily lives. When one fully repents, he or she becomes new in spirit.
4.4.4 Different steps in the celebration of repentance and baptism
Mention the steps that are followed for one to repent and get baptised in your church.
There are different steps followed in celebrating the sacrament of penitence. It differs from church to church.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the priests lead the function. They pray with the sign of the cross and may read the word of God. Believers confess their sins and the priest counsels them.
The priest asks believers to express their sorrow usually by confession of sin and then gives them a penance.
Believers receive absolution. The priest says, ‘I absolve your sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’.
The priest dismisses believers by saying ‘go in peace’. The believers go to perform the act of penance.
It is important that before celebrating the sacrament of repentance one must prepare himself or herself. Christians prepare by examining their own conscience.
In Pentecostal and Anglican churches, the confession of sins is in public. It is followed by a prayer from a priest or a pastor.
As we have noted earlier, the sacrament of baptism is also celebrated differently by different churches.
The Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches emphasise the baptism of the young who are brought to church. The Pentecostal Churches emphasise the baptism of people when they are old enough to present themselves for baptism. This is so, because it is believed before baptism one must be ready and prepared to confess his or her sins and meet other requirements that we have already learnt about.
Parents who ask their children to be baptised accept the responsibility of training them. They train them on the Christian faith. They make efforts to bring them up well by encouraging or teaching them to keep God’s commandments.
Baptism is about being made a part of the Christian community. It is not a private family occasion. Therefore, baptism is normally celebrated in the presence of several other families or members of the church.
4.5 Relationship between baptism and repentance
In groups, share the similarities and differences between the sacrament of baptism and repentance.
Baptism is the outward washing away of sins. Repentance is the inward change of heart away from sin. Unless one fully repents, he or she cannot be baptised or cleansed of sins.
Another relationship between baptism and repentance is that both prepare us for salvation.
Except a man be born of water and of spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God, (John 3:5).
Arise and be baptised and wash away your sins calling upon the name of the Lord, (Acts 22:16).
Holy baptism is an appointed sacrament of salvation where all human sins are washed away. Without this holy baptism, there is no promise of salvation.
He that believeth shall be saved and when one believes and get baptised he or she gets saved, (Mark 16:16).
God does not make us commit sin; all sins are as a result of human weakness and desires. It is important that to receive God’s salvation, one has to accept his or her sins and repent. For repentance saves our lives from eternal hell. Sin is the cause of suffering and many problems on earth.
Meaning and importance of baptism and its celebration. Baptism is one of the sacraments in the Christian Church. Baptism helps in making us members of the new covenant. It makes us the disciples of Jesus Christ and share with him in God’s Kingdom.
Different forms of baptismal rite are: immersion, sprinkling and pouring of water.
Forms of baptism in the Bible are repentance and the Holy Spirit. Repentance was done by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit was done by Jesus.
The effects of the sacrament of baptism are the belief in purification and new birth. They also believe in the forgiveness of sins and sacramental mark of unity.
Sins and their spiritual consequences. Sin is a violation of God’s religious laws like commandments. Sin damages our relationship with God and with other people.
Meaning and importance of the sacrament of repentance and its celebration. Repentance is the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for doing wrong. It helps in restoring us to God’s grace in His Kingdom.
Different steps in the celebration of the sacrament of repentance and baptism. The steps differ from church to church. In some churches confession of sins is done in public and followed by a prayer.
Repentance as an act of change of the heart. A change of heart requires a change of mind. This makes somebody a new creature in God’s Kingdom.
Relationships between the sacrament of baptism and repentance. Baptism is the outward washing away of sins while repentance is the change of heart.
1. List two forms of repentance.
2. Outline the importance of repentance in a Christians’ life.
3. Describe one form of baptism in a named church.
4. Mention three different steps in the celebration of the sacraments of repentance and baptism.
5. What is the importance of baptism?
Absolution - Describes unlimited power or declaration of forgiveness of sins.
Beatitudes - These are the blessings that Jesus taught his disciples during the Sermon on the Mountain.
Blasphemy - It consists of uttering words against God (attributes).
Bondage - Being another person’s slave.
Brainstorm - To suggest many ideas very quickly before considering them very carefully.
Catechism - Established questions and answers about Christian set of beliefs.
Contrition - It is an act of prayer that expresses sorrow for sins.
Decalogue - These are laws which were passed on from God to the liberated people of Israel.
Entrants - A person who takes part in a competition.
Euthanasia - Killing someone who is so ill or old to prevent him or her from suffering, that is, mercy killing.
Eucharist - This is the Christian ceremony based on Jesus Christ’s last meal with his disciples.
Eschatology - This is part of theology concerned about the ultimate destiny of humanity.
Gacaca courts - This is a system of community justice inspired by Rwandan tradition.
Gacaca can be loosely translated to mean ‘justice in the grass’.
Hospitality - It is a way of entertaining those who really need our care.
Incarnation - The appearance of God in the form of a human being.
Jesus the son of God was born in the form of flesh. (Human being).
Liturgy - This is a set of words or actions used in ceremonies in some religions.
Repentance - Is a public show of regret for something you have done and you feel it was wrong.
Sacraments - This is a ceremony which is important in the Christian church.
Salvation - The state of being saved from evil and its effects by the death of Jesus Christ.
Supernatural - Forces that cannot be explained by science.
The Nativity - The birth of Jesus Christ which is celebrated by Christians during Christmas.
Omuganda - Can be translated as coming together in a common purpose or community work.
Week of passion - It is a week that began with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.Unit 4:Repentance and Baptism