We must learn to forgive in order to defeat hate

2015-07-15 06:00
Moeti Molelekoa - Social Observer

Moeti Molelekoa - Social Observer

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“DEARLY beloved, avenge not yourself, but rather give peace unto wrath, for it is written; vengeance is mine, I will repay, said the Lord.” Romans 12: 19.

In mid-November 1988, Barend Hendrik Strydom, also known as the Wit Wolf, went on a shooting spree. He killed seven and wounded about 15 black people on Strijdom Square in Pretoria Central. He had earlier killed a black woman and injured another in a trial run to be known as the Strydom Massacre.

At the time of the crime, he was only 23 years old. Strydom claimed he was a leader of the Wit Wolwe (White Wolves). Strydom claimed he was a Christian and had prayed for a number of days before committing the crime. He later claimed that God had given him no sign that he must not carry out his plans.

Strydom was sentenced to death, but was later pardoned in 1990. He was granted amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1994.

In June 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mother Emanuel circuit, in Charleston, South Carolina (America), and after sitting for an hour through the evening Bible study, he pulled a .45 caliber handgun from his bag, then shot and killed nine worshippers, leaving one survivor with gaping wounds.

Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church. God had instructed us to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. To achieve this, the Bible advises us to focus on what we have in common and not our differences. We ought to concentrate on aspects which make for harmony, and the growth of one another’s character. We must remember that God has chosen to give us different personalities, backgrounds and races.

To defeat hate and prejudice we need to forgive. To deal with acts of extreme violence like the ones perpetrated by Strydom and Roof, we need to forgive them. Forgiveness is not easy to exercise, especially in cases where its source is racism.

St Luke is known for the gospel of the Lord’s grace. He puts emphasis on the Lords’ sympathy towards the attitudes of the lowly and sinners or outcasts. St Luke deals with lost things such as the woman who had lost a coin and the lost sheep.

My favourite script, Luke 15: 11-32, deals with the loving, forgiving heart of God the Father. It tells of two sons, one who did not disobey his father’s orders and the younger son, the prodigal son who demanded his share of his estate, then set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. He was an outcast who ate with pigs. After going back home he rejoices in his father’s forgiveness.

Rev. Diphoko Tsoaela, the Winburg-based priest of the Methodist Church who served as member of the Intervention Unit in Free State Premier Ace Magashule’s office, was buried at his home town recently. There at Tsoaela’s funeral, multitudes of people witnessed how gang members described Tsoaela as a hero who in his life-time had championed for reconciliation among rival gangs in the Free State – especially in Meloding, Virgnia.

) To express your views about the issue highlighted in the column, go to www.express-news.co.za. Express Goldfields andamp; NFS welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the weekly column as public observers or citizen journalists. There is no payment for writers.

) Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words, English or Sotho) to teboho.setena@volksblad.com.

To defeat hate and prejudice we need to forgive. To deal with acts of extreme violence like the ones perpetrated by Strydom and Roof, we need to forgive them

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