written by Rev Gary Heard
TWO tragedies have captured our attention and magnified our horror in recent days - one from Oklahoma (a tragic bombing), another from Rwanda (genocide). Both highlight a callous disregard for human life. What sort of human beings can perpetrate such deeds against innocent people?
America sought to
soften the blow by pointing to outsiders - "dark forces" - as inflicting
this inhuman blow upon its society - a subtle and incipient form of racism.
Their smug security about themselves was shattered by the arrest of one
of their own. How easy it can be to blame others and overlook our
But what of the perpetrators of both deeds: how should we respond?
The grace of God is scandalous. It is prepared to say to these people: "You are guilty of the worst crimes imaginable. You deserve death." Yet at the same time, saying "I love you", "I forgive you", and the full force of [God's] law brought to bear upon them, and then removed, because it has already been brought down upon Someone Else. The thought of such a gracious expression to such people is horrifying - imagine if that were the court's response to a repentant confession! Yet this response recognises that they are no different to us in the sight of God.
Indeed God's grace is a scandal. How dare God love and forgive so freely....
April 30, 1995
feedback to the author