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We live in a time which more than ever recognises wrongs must be paid for.
‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) and ‘Me Too’ have set out to tackle abuses, call people to account and expose the realities of unknown suffering. These campaigns testify not to an instinct for the ‘survival of the fittest’ but to an inbuilt recognition that justice should be done.
This should not be surprising. Our Creator is a God of justice; made in his image, we reflect his character. He takes particular care to demand that minorities and vulnerable people receive, not just equality, but special respect and privilege and that justice should be upheld.
Psalm 146:9 reads: ‘The Lord watches over the sojourners; [racial minority], He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked, he brings to ruin.’ Justice is good.
However, BLM and #Me Too aren’t sufficient to right society’s wrongs. Why? Because while pointing to the guilt of others, they fail to recognise we’re all guilty. We’ve all failed to love our neighbours as ourselves, we’ve all marginalised and discriminated against those not like us, even the protestor, even the victim; perhaps not based on colour, but certainly on class, status or some other difference.
This is where the Bible paints the full picture, justice is right, but reconciliation happens only through forgiveness. The Lord who leads in justice and who will judge all guilt, also leads in forgiveness. In the cross of Jesus, he absorbed the price of justice. He took the initiative. ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’.
The gift of God’s forgiveness is on offer. When we receive it and recognise all we’ve been forgiven, then forgiveness flows out to others and reconciliation begins.
Reverend Mark Jasper, Campbeltown Community Church.