Good News for South Africa: Racial Reconciliation 1

In Mark 1:15 Jesus declares that “The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!”  Jesus begins his ministry by proclaiming the good news or gospel that the Kingdom of God was near.  God’s Kingdom was coming because God’s King was coming.

But how is the Kingdom of God good news?  For most of us today the arrival of a King to rule over us does not sound like good news at all!  We want to be free, no kind of rule sounds like good news.

And this was the lie of Satan way back in the Garden of Eden when the Serpent portrayed God as a tyrant, holding us back, keeping the best for himself.  But God is not a tyrant – his rule is one of freedom, mercy, love, justice, life, blessing and peace.

King Jesus comes both to demonstrate to us the goodness of living under the reign of God and to set us free from our self-imposed exile from God and slavery to the tyrannical rule of sin.  The church (the people of God) looks forward to a glorious future that God has promised us in Christ.  But the story of the Bible is that this Kingdom has now broken in and is at work saving and restoring a people. Where the good and gracious reign of King Jesus can be seen.  In the church we find a taste of what it means to be truly human… again.

It is the gospel which answers the deepest and most noble aspirations of our society.  It is the gospel which satisfies the restless longing of our souls, the residual image of God in man, marred but not forever lost.  The church as the foretaste of restored humanity demonstrates to the world (through the goodness of their lives together) that their good desires and aspirations are satisfied only in Jesus.  The church declares to the world in word and deed that it is good to live under the reign of King Jesus.

What could it mean for the gospel to be “good news” to South Africa today?

Issues of race have been an even more contentious issue in South Africa over the last few months.  From models tweeting, artists painting, students FaceBooking ,  bloggers blogging, politicians marching and presidents suing issues of race have been a hot topic in social media forums lately.  Christians have not been exempt from these issues and sadly enough have mostly just been a PG-rated mirror of the attitudes emanating from their respective communities.

We live in a county that eighteen years into democracy remains heavily divided along racial and economic lines.  How is it that the gospel can be seen as good news to South Africa?  For make no mistake, if we have a gospel that has nothing to say to this issue in our time, in our country – then we have an impotent gospel!

You may also be interested in:

Good News to our City: Economic Inequality

How to Talk to Black People

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2 thoughts on “Good News for South Africa: Racial Reconciliation 1

  1. Wade

    Well John, let me firstly say. 20 years. We are 20 years into our democracy boet. You know i love a good debate, but i cannot argue against the bible. Lucky for me, your scripture above did not quote anything about race, so this topic, i can argue. O.K. I will say it. I’m Racist! I never used to be..you knew me many years ago and should know i was not racist. Yet, i find myself constantly realising that i am INDEED racist. I get told it every day when i read my newspaper, or read facebook, or watch TV. I’m white..therefor, i am RACIST. I used the word monkey once, to describe a president that A. Looks almost identical to a Gorilla and B. i deem to be a monkey, not because he is black, but because all he does is fling his own faeces at the country he governs and yet, whilst the country tries to fling it back, we always miss. Yet, in this term, i was automatically deemed racist. A white man calls a black man Boy, he’s racist and barred from Virgin Active, yet i sit and chat with a lot of security people of all colours, white black and yellow…i always say Good Night Boys…yet, i’m not told i am racist by the white or coloured people. A black man though will always talk about white supremacy and how we steal from the poor, then get into his brand new mercedes S500 that cost over a million rand and drive off while everyone looks at the white guy who works an honest job and drives off in his Ford Escort and say he is Racist. Constantly i see people getting fired for making remarks on social media about black people…racist or not, all one has to do is cry foul and no company wants to be seen as lenient towards a “racist” even if they aren’t racist, so that person gets sacked, yet i constantly see on a daily basis hate speech from black people against white people…what happens to them? Oh yes, they get promoted to parliament and given luxury cars, houses and tenders! Yes John…I am Racist. I am White which in a black mans eyes, automatically makes me racist. Every term that i use in my every day language, whether to family, friends or colleagues is racial. I can’t say things like Maid, a perfectly fine term overseas..hell, DSTV has a serious called Devious Maids now. I can’t say Boy, though the English language says that a young male is a boy. I believe that even the term Black Man is not Kosher anymore. Yet, i am a Red Neck, Imperialist Whitey…I am “The Devil” So, enough play on words and lets be forthright. I AM Racist! I AM Human. It is in my nature to hate those that Hate me and when i have to live in a community where all i hear day and night is about how Racist i am as a white man because of the colour of my skin, and how I have benefited at their expense and therefor must “Give Up” my rightfully earned property, Yeah, It angers me. It is hard to love those that glare at you…swear at you and ultimately incite violence against you and your family because you are white. You preach about acceptance, but YOU are also Racist John. You fail to see that what we live in now, is a reverse Apartheid. Sure, i am not in a squatter camp and live a better life than most here, but i live in a prison where i have a majority of a country against me for something I did not do. I live in fear because it is openly and widely published that Blacks MUST “Take” back whats theirs against WHITES by whatever means…especially FORCE! John…you can preach about right and wrong all you like, but the racial tensions are getting worse and worse and yes, i believe that this country could be heading towards civil war someday, but i remind you that in 1994, many white south africans turned to the voting stations with a hope of a bright future living alongside the black man. What happened? 20 years later, those same white south africans are now the ones who feel despair and see no future for this country. Why are they turning racist? These are the questions you should perhaps be asking!

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  2. John Post author

    20 years it is but this post is a couple of years old… so 18 years was correct. But I did not notice that the post does not seem to have a date stamp anywhere so you are forgiven 🙂 Just gong to pick up on one point among the many.

    Yes, I too struggle with racism. Or perhaps a better term is prejudice. It lurks in all of our hearts, all of the time. It is the temptation to make assumptions about a person based on the colour of their skin or their social standing or their nationality or the language they speak or don’t speak. Do I struggle to make snap judgements based on my particular set of preferred criteria? Yes. Do I really struggle with some of your comments above? Yes. Do I get to write off all white people simply because someone(s) of a particular skin colour says something I dislike or which offends me? No I do not.

    I choose to fight for the dignity and humanity of all people. I choose not to make judgements on a entire group of people based on a few negative perceptions or a prejudice directed towards me. I choose to judge a man not on the colour of his skin but on the character of his heart. I know racist, sexist, homophobic white, black and coloured people. I too am a prejudiced white man. But I do not wear that prejudice as a badge of pride, I hang my head in shame. And fight, in weakness and imperfection, to treat all with dignity, honour and integrity. And that includes taking responsibility for an inequality in our country that often still favours the white and the middle and upper classes.

    I admit dealing with this responsibility is often poorly handled by those on both sides of the inequality. But I choose not to allow their poor handling or prejudice to stop me from speaking for and acting towards justice and fairness. I am not blind to the issues or the racist rhetoric on both sides. I simply choose, like Jesus, knowing full well the problems to lay down my life, putting aside my rights and instead choosing to speak with and serve and listen to those who are not like me. Particularly the poor, the marginalised and the forgotten. I don’ have it all together but I am confident that I am falteringly following Jesus…

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