It all starts with a Statue!
I don't like you and what you represented so I will happily try and remove you from my world - so I remove your statue.
But, what have I really done?
Mr Cecil Rhodes (et al.) you lived in the past and represented an evil policy that hurt and broke me. You left me disadvantaged, poor and angry. I cheered when the new government came into power, because I had dreams of a new beginning and great opportunities, but they too have left me feeling empty and disillusioned. Now I need a new way of venting my frustration and to feel a little taste of victory - so let me tear down your statue!
But tomorrow when I wake up and realise that my heart is still broken, what then?
I will start to look for another statue.
And then another....
But, when all the statues are gone, I will STILL be left with a gaping hole in my spirit.
There are no more statues to tear down, so I will turn upon YOU.
I don't like what you represent. I am fearful of you and what you can take from me. I shouldn't speak the word out aloud, but really what I feel is 'Xenophobia' - I fear YOU as the "other" person, the stranger, the one I can't understand.
I fear you.
So, I will tear down your shops and homes - I will take your food and clothes. I will kill you if I have to, because I feel the need to get rid of anyone that robs me of MY rights.
I deserve that job!
I deserve that house!
I deserve that food!
It should be mine and not yours!
I fear that you will take it all away from me and that for a second time I will be robbed!
But, when I have destroyed your property and maybe taken your life, what then?
What will have changed?
Would I really have found some peace?
If I find 'peace' for a moment maybe I will even erect a statue in my honour.
It will stand as a symbol of my victory and the pain I have caused others.
It may stand for a few decades, but soon someone else will feel the need to tear that statue down.
My statue will fall.
It will FALL!
Angry descendants of "those foreigners" will come seeking justice for the Xenophobic attacks on their ancestors.
Will they not have a right to take down my new statue? After all my statue will insult them and all those innocent victims of my acts of violence and Xenophobia.
They will seek revenge.
And they will destroy the new statue.
But what then?
They too will wake up with pain in their belly and a gaping hole in their spirit.
They too will realise that revenge leaves only a bitter taste in the mouth.
It all begins with a Statue!
Is this why Jesus urged us to forgive one another. He knew that the cycle of revenge would never be satisfied. Jesus' word on mercy and forgiveness is NOT an easy word to receive, but in the midst of a mad world, it will be the only thing that puts out the fires of hatred.
Matthew 6:14-15 -“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
Psalm 130:3-4 - If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshipped.
Matthew 5:43-44 - “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Living in Grace