What does it mean to be a white South African Christian living in the year 2009? For many people I know it means being tired of shame. Implied shame. Only gentlemen like Mr. Malema (ANC Youth-League leader) and his friends seem politically incorrect enough now to actually shove it in our faces, but the shame is pervasive. It lies behind every third newspaper headline. It sits in the eyes of the car-guard at the shopping center. It even pollutes our hearts while we worship in our multi-cultural churches. Shame – irrational and unfair and denied and stubborn as a wine stain on our whitewashed hearts.

I’m 27. Apartheid is an academic misadventure to me. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my fault! Sometimes I shake my fist at God for this shame. As if it was His fault.

Remember Daniel?

I used to wonder if Daniel felt this shame as he worked the endless ours in the service of the king who had destroyed his people? Who kept him as a highly educated slave? Who had castrated him? And I wondered if he fought the shame as he walked around the city feeling the eyes of the locals on him? Jew. Eunuch. Slave. I wondered if he shook his fist at God as he knelt down to pray. God had judged his people and delivered them into the hands of the enemy. Their sins had found them out. And Daniel was paying for the sins of the fathers with his very life.

No he didn’t. Daniel poured out his life in service, not to the king of Babylon, but to the King of Heaven. He sacrificed his royal bloodline and his right to marry and have children, and his right to be angry with God on the altar of worship.

Being a white South African Christian (or any Christian for that matter) means learning to lay down the injustices of the present and the past and the future and to fix our eyes on Him. In that gaze, there is no more shame.


    (NOTE: The parallel is not to be taken out of context – I am NOT comparing the ANC or black South Africans to the Babylonians or white South Africans with the people of Israel. The parallel exists only in the way I wish to respond like Daniel to the feelings of unjust shaming that I inherit as a white South African living in 2009)
Advertisements