Skip to main content

Gasping for justice

After Stephen Lawrence was murdered his parents faced a valley of institutional failing and disregard, ranging from a press that initially didn’t bother to report on their son’s death to a police force that didn’t bother to investigate effectively. A failed private prosecution and the public inquiry that concluded the police were institutionally racist constituted another two lowlights. In their tenacious campaign to see Stephen’s killers convicted, the discovery of new DNA evidence finally led to their sentencing.
Describing the moment the verdict was announced, Neville Lawrence said: "It was like when you dive underneath the water and you hold your breath, and you have to come out and huhhhh [he gulps in air loudly]. I thought my heart was going to fly out through my mouth and drop on the floor when I heard 'guilty'."
A man gasping for justice.
Much has changed during these 18 years due to the tireless commitment of people who continued their fight for justice. Celebrating Martin Luther King Day we glean from the wisdom of another man who gasped for justice. Warning against “the myth of time”, as if there is something in the flow of time that would correct all wrongs, King said: “Social progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless effort and the persistent work of dedicated individuals.”
Standing on a hill in Galilee, Jesus pronounces those who hunger and thirst for righteousness blessed. It’s that ache for justice that works for them, the very hunger for righteousness that drives them on (Proverbs 16:26). Living in a fractured world, they not only share in the pain but also share in the promise that they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).
In his Confessions, St Augustine describes his search for God:
“You were within, but I outside, seeking there for you…
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness 
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped
and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.”
A man gasping for God - burning for peace, moved by a spirited hunger and thirst.
The prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of a similar aerodynamic in heaven where for a long time God has been quiet. But now, He gasps - leading His people by ways they have not known, guiding them along unfamiliar paths, turning the darkness into light and making the rough places smooth. “These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:14-16).
That promise forms the arc over our struggle. Placing the Christian community in the midst of a groaning world, the apostle Paul locates our endurance and overcoming in relationship. Our overcoming lies in the reality that we are inseparable from divine love.
To overcome is also to remain faithful to Christ, exercising a stewardship that reflects his image in the world (Romans 8). As the political activist Helen Keller said: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” People who ache for justice can bring about a seismic shift, affecting moral, social, historic, economic, spiritual and legal dynamics in society while also testifying to the capacity to overcome.
King’s lens was shaped by his conviction that the arc of the moral universe is bent toward justice. The victory “through him who loves us” celebrates Christ’s lordship, love and faithfulness.

Marijke Hoek, Coordinator Forum for Change - Evangelical Alliance


  1. One of the police officers who was totally & maliciously branded a racialist is a personal friend who leads a church with about 50% black members. He is anything but racialist & there are a lot of other facts that have never been publicised. Sadly the case was used for political ends by some with anything but wholesome motives. Sarah will back me up on my friend's character. That private prosecution totally tied the Police's hands until the law was changed—it had gone before a judge & jury & WHATEVER new evidence the Police had, they could not take those 2 before a court gain until the law changed.
    I'm very glad they've got 2 convictions, but they would like to get the others as well.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

When God turns a deaf ear on prayers

Does God always hear people’s prayers, or do some pray in vain thinking that God hears them, when in reality He chooses to turn a deaf hear to their cries? Some may perhaps have a notion that all prayers are worthy, and God being who He is is by nature willing to listen and hear their prayers delightfully. They entertain the notion that it is their birth right for God to listen to their prayers and answer them accordingly. Also, there are some who come before the presence of the Lord with severe doubts, defeated by the devils whisper that they are such an unworthy soul that for them to lift up their cries to the Lord is an abomination. They are mute by their own wickedness, depressed and thus fail to pray.

What does the scripture say about God turning a deaf hear to prayers? It is to be said that God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer as He sees fit. He is altogether happy and never backed into a corner, God always does whatever He pleases for He is free to do as He wills…

What does it mean to live a godly life?

If you ever asked yourself the question, what does it mean to live a godly life? and if your not exactly sure what living a godly life involves, this extract taking from Charles Seet book 'A Christian in a non-Christian world' provides ample guidance on just what to do.

Now it is worth asking the question then, 'What does it mean to live godly?' It does not mean that we are just to confine ourselves within a set of rules and regulations. Some people reduce godly living to a list of 'do’s and don'ts.' But the meaning of godly living goes far deeper than that.

Godly living means living in the manner that God wants us to live. It means having the same feelings, attitudes and heart's desires that God has. It means that we love the things that God loves, care for the things that God cares for, and dislike those things which He dislikes. And since God loves righteousness, a godly person also loves righteousness. Since God hates sin, a godly person also hates …

Women of the Bible: Adah and Zillah

The Sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the fall of humanity. Every generation after them became wicked and that is why scripture affirms, ‘that there is no one righteous, no, not even one.’ Mankind became enslave to the passions of its flesh, its desires became its ruler and men followed the natural dictates of their hearts; and were it not for Sovereign grace, the race of men would now only be read of by angels in the library of extinct creatures. Adam and Eve witnessed the consequences of their sin in the death of their beloved son, Abel, by the hands of Cain who murdered his brother in anger and was thus sent away from the presence of God. My dear sisters, sin is not only sin when it is found in its extremes, sin is also sin in its subtlety and vanity. Sin is sin when one's affection is set on another and not on God, when one lives to please a thing or a being which is not God; this is also sin.
This becomes especially evident in the lives of Adah and Zillah the wives of Lamech. Th…