Oscar, Grace & Justice

I don’t know if Jacob Zuma raped that woman. I don’t know if Jub Jub was really drag racing before his car accident. I don’t know if Julius Malema is guilty of steal tax payers money. And I don’t know if the events that lead to Reeva Steenkamps death on Thursday 14th of Feb were pre-meditated or not.

What I know, is that it’s actually not for me to make a call on any of the above cases, or any other account of sin that we may or may not hear about – Oscar Pistorius’ case included.

What I know, is that God promises in His Word that He is faithful and just and will forgive all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). What I know, is that God has commanded us to not judge others but to leave the judgment to the only one qualified to judge – God almighty (Matt 7:1). What I know, is that God is a God of Grace. His grace is sufficient to cover every sin ever committed, being committed, and any sin still to be committed (2 Cor 12:9, Romans 3:24).

What I know is that this grace does not exclude justice, but that God – in his omnipotence – is able to bring about justice through grace (John 8:1-11). What I know is that right now, there are people that are deeply touched by the tragedy of Oscar killing Reeva on Thursday morning. No, I don’t mean the thousands of Facebook users, Tweeters and News24 commentors who will have forgotten about this tragedy in 2 years time (or less) – I mean those whose lives will never, ever, be the same again. Reeva’s family. Oscar. Carl. Aimee. As Carl (Oscar’s older brother) tweeted the other day: “This tragedy has changed the landscape of our lives”.

This tragedy, the one which has changed the landscape of so many lives in ways we will never understand, has caused me to meditate even deeper on grace. God’s grace. My grace. To question the conditions of grace, if in fact there are any (we surely want there to be!). To question the equality of grace. Imagine the scenario where the media had managed to keep completely silent about Oscar’s identity, and we were simply hearing about an “unidentified man” killing an “unidentified woman”. Would you care?

I’m embarrassed to admit, I probably wouldn’t have read even a single article. But that is what public tragedy does. It causes us to think. To examine. To make calls – calls that are not ours to make. It tempts us to judge. We play God. We judge God. We tweet. We retweet. We put ourselves in the situation. We make statements based on rumours. All the while ignoring what is really at play: We live in a fallen world, where fallen people do fallen people things – sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately.

Regardless, this fallen world is a world covered by the Grace of an incredible God.

I pray that Oscar would encounter that grace in a way that he never dreamed possible – whether innocent or guilty [disclaimer: grace does not mean that actions are without consequence]. I pray that his family would encounter God’s grace in a way that would lead them to peace amidst this storm.

I pray that Reeva’s family would be overwhelmed by God’s grace in a way that would help them find comfort for their hurt, and eventually help them forgive. That His grace would help them rebuild their lives, to slowly form their “new normal”.

I pray that our country, this volatile, ticking time bomb that is SA, would find God’s grace in a way that helps us to step back and allow the court to do its job; to realise that we have no claims to either Oscar or Reeva – they are individuals who have/had no obligation to this country, regardless of status and that it is therefore not even for us to forgive; and to find our hope in Jesus Christ.

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