This is a piece I wrote for our mission’s South Africa office following some high-profile crimes there against women and immigrants. You can read it below or at their web site, www.sim.org.za.
The first sin committed was putting selfish ambition before loving God. The second was putting selfish anger before loving another human being. They have plagued us ever since.
Yet again, we are being overwhelmed by shocking examples of the hideous depths to which many reject God’s call to love and care for others. Yet again, a young woman has died horribly because a man saw her not as a fellow child of God but instead as a means to his own satisfaction. Yet again, immigrants have died because people saw them as competition.
“Don’t we all have the same father? Didn’t the same God create us all? Then why do we break our promises to one another, and why do we despise the covenant that God made with our ancestors?”
When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied with two: first, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind; second, to love our neighbour as ourselves. The very things first rejected. The very things still being rejected.
Over and over, God’s word affirms His love for all people and His desire that the vulnerable and different be not only protected but embraced, well-treated and loved.
“All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
We at SIM—a worldwide community of people from over 70 countries and many ethnic, cultural, theological, and professional backgrounds—love and embody diversity. We are men and women loving God in many languages and sharing Christ and His love with people from every tribe, tongue and nation because we believe firmly that no one should live without hearing His good news. SIM South Africa is blessed to be a part of that loving work, representing the Lord wherever He leads us, to and from the Rainbow Nation.
Everyone—regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, or status—is created in God’s image. Everyone is beloved of God and therefore worthy of our love and care and respect. Everyone deserves to live in peace and safety with their neighbours, able to find their peace and salvation with the Lord. Violence disrupts that, scars people in body, heart, mind and soul, and violates God’s love and society’s needs.
“He makes sure that orphans and widows are treated fairly; he loves the foreigners who live with our people, and gives them food and clothes. So then, show love for those foreigners, because you were once foreigners in Egypt.”
Throughout time, God has been reaching out to the world, declaring His love for everyone and teaching us to do likewise, even to those whom we might consider fearfully as enemies or selfishly as opportunities. He understands our fears, weaknesses, temptations and sins but calls us to rise above them. He tells us to turn to Him, let Him change our hearts, and change our actions and attitudes from self-serving to serving others. Someday, in His perfect timing, the Lord will make all things right forever, but He has called us to be His representatives to the world even now.
Please join us in praying for and working toward a more loving and peaceful South Africa, humbling ourselves and confessing our own sins and asking His intervention and protection for all His people. Please join us in committing to reaching out with God’s love to all people regardless of difference, disagreement or discomfort. Please join us in standing up in word and deed for the hurting and vulnerable among us.
“The Lord gave this message to Zechariah: ‘Long ago I gave these commands to my people: ‘You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.’”
- for everyone grieving or hurting to feel His love and healing,
- for those continuing to speak into this situation to express well whatever the Lord would have them say, and
- for Him to guide those in leadership and other forms of influence—whether national or local or relational—to stop this madness.