The Reading & Interpretation of Matthew 18:21-22 in Relation to Multiple Reconciliations: The Zimbabwean Experience

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Francis Machingura Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg Germany, Email:

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The mention of the terms ‘healing, truth and reconciliation’, conjure up different meanings across religio-political, social and economical divide in Zimbabwe. This paper seeks to explore the possible implications of the reading of Matthew 18:21-22 in relation to reconciliation in the face of continual and structural violence in Zimbabwe. This rose as a result of the multiple reconciliation undertakings that have been witnessed by the Zimbabweans since the attainment of Independence in 1980. These healing whistles have been sounded in 1980, 1987 and recently 2008 after the brutal violence that took place in different shapes and depth. Most of the victims belonged to both political parties but mostly opposition parties save the violence before Independence as shall be shown in this paper. What is interesting is that, the recent 24-26 July 2009 healing calls by Mugabe are no longer a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe, as they do not produce any positive change on people’s behaviour and attitude; when it comes to how Zimbabwean people should relate and integrate each other without resorting to violence in the face of different political views. Surprisingly the calls for peace, unity, reconciliation, integration and forgiveness have left the Zimbabwean society more: wounded, divided and polarised than healed; and more disintegrated than integrated. How does one reconcile with someone who murdered your father, raped your mother or sister in your face; and that person is not made accountable for his actions but is only asked to apologize? This paper seeks to argue that healing or any reconciliation without the seeking of truth and justice is a goose chasing as it still leaves Zimbabwe a ‘violence infested’ country. I also take issue with Religious Leaders who quote Matthew 18:21-22; as a precursor for unconditional forgiveness on the part of the victim when it comes to reconciliation and healing in Zimbabwe.

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