Friday, December 06, 2013

From Troublemaker to Peacemaker

He was born into the world and named Troublemaker. Seriously. 

One has to wonder what parent would name their child ‘Troublemaker’?!!!

Troublemaker, it’s time for dinner!

Brush your teeth, Troublemaker. 

And, a weary, tired, resigned,

You can’t right all the wrongs in this world, Troublemaker. It’s only gonna get you in trouble.

His parents were right, as most parents are… even when they wish they were wrong. For, indeed, their child was born in the world of trouble. A deeply divided nation with deep wounds.  Incurable wounds, it seemed. It troubled deeply their Troublemaker to see the division and he had to do something about it.  Being the troublemaker, he caused trouble.  A lot of trouble. And that, of course, caused him trouble.  It landed him in jail for 27 years.  According to his judge, it was supposed to be for the rest of his life. But what do the earthly judges know?!!!

During those 10,000 days, something happened to Troublemaker. Something shifted. The troubles in his world still remained.  In fact, they got worse. And he was as troubled as ever. But, his approach changed. And he became a… peacemaker?!!!.  A messenger of forgiveness, an embodiment of humble service.

Reflecting on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, flawed and imperfect as it was, I cant’ help but think of Joseph and Moses.  John the Baptist and Peter.  Paul and Silas And, of course, the Troublemaker of all the troublemakers, Jesus Himself  followed by countless nameless others through the centuries… the heroes of faith who were banished or jailed for causing too much trouble in this troubled world.

And ultimately the only way such world can be truly changed… through the message, the embodiment of unmerited, unwarranted forgiveness. The forgiveness of God freely offered to each of us in Christ.  The forgiveness and love and joy that transforms our own hearts first and  then spills into our black-and-white, right-and-wrong world making it into one true rainbow nation.

But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”.  Luke 23:24

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace... Ephesians 2:14-17

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