Monday, January 31, 2011

A Unifier or A Divider, A Reconciler or A Destroyer?

I have been thinking lately about how our lives impact others, for good or bad. We can build up or tear down. We can encourage or deflate. We can bind or liberate. We can embitter or cause rejoicing. We can reconcile or destroy. We can unify or divide.

I want to keep in step with God’s Spirit living through me.  I want to be someone who is part of the solution rather than someone who is part of the problem. I want my love for God to result in more love for others. I want to be a person of grace. I want my life seasoned with grace. I want to be a forgiver! I want to be a unifier, not a divider.

Are you familiar with the history of the apartheid policies of South Africa and the unspeakable violence committed against blacks under the white regime? After Nelson Mandella’s release from prison, he asked Bishop Desmond Tutu to set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring to light the ugly truth of what had happened, and do it without exacting revenge, but rather reconciliation. Under the rules, if an oppressor faced his accusers and fully confessed his crime, he could not be prosecuted. Many protested that this was not justice, but Mandella insisted the country needed healing more than it needed justice. In one of the trials:

“A policeman named van de Broek recounted an incident when he and other officers shot an eighteen-year-old boy and burned the body, turning it on the fire like a piece of barbecue meat in order to destroy the evidence. Eight years later van de Broek returned to the same house and seized the boy’s father. The wife was forced to watch as policemen bound her husband on a woodpile, poured gasoline over his body, and ignited it.

The courtroom grew hushed as the elderly woman who had lost first her son and then her husband was given a chance to respond. ‘What do you want from Mr. Van de Broek?’ the judge asked. She said she wanted van de Broek to go to the place where they burned her husband’s body and gather up the dust so she could give him a decent burial. His head down, the policeman nodded agreement.

Then she added a further request, ‘Mr. Van de Broek took all my family away from me, and I still have a lot of love to give. Twice a month, I would like for him to come to the ghetto and spend a day with me so I can be a mother to him. And I would like Mr. Van de Borek to know that he is forgiven by God, and that I forgive him, too. I would like to embrace him so he can know my forgiveness is real.

Some in the courtroom spontaneously began singing ‘Amazing Grace’ as the elderly woman made her way to the witness stand, but van de Broek did not hear the hymn. He had fainted, physically overwhelmed by grace.” (Phil Yancey 'What Good Is God?')

She literally followed the Scripture which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

May we walk in God's Amazing Grace with Him and each other!

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