By Mary-Anne Rabe
The Mandela movie was so deeply touching – so much so, that I was quite drained afterwards.
You see, our family was very involved with the political struggle to abolish apartheid. Steve Biko, who was murdered in prison was a family friend. One of my brothers was imprisoned for protesting against the injustice of his murder. My mom, at the forefront of the struggle, facing not only humiliation and anger from her peers,but also great danger, fought for what she was convinced was right – every person stood equal before God.
She died in 1981, when I was 11, not seeing, in this life, her dream fulfilled. Here I sat in a movie theatre, with black and white and every shade in between, sitting side by side, laughing together, crying together as the story of a beautiful transformation unfolded.
How I grieved for the victims of unjust violence, seeing the depth of hatred and fear unleashed towards it’s victims – I was filled with embarrassment and pain. Then filled with sorrow for the perpetrators, also victims of their own fear and hatred.
Jesus faced His murderers with love and forgiveness, not condoning their violence, but exposing it for what it was. Though He was well able to wipe out the perpetrators, He rises, with healing and forgiveness in His embrace of a humanity that so desperately needed it. Love triumphs over fear and hatred.
What do we fear…is it the unknown – that which is unfamiliar that threatens us?
Do we spend so much time searching for demons behind every bush, suspecting evil in ornaments and symbols, rebuking even the appearance of a storm, shadow-boxing in the closet, avoiding those whose appearance or culture is different from ours, that we don’t have time to really live and love?
Fear causes us to miss out on new friendships, new experiences. It prevents us from living large enriching lives filled with be-wonderment – instead, occupying us with ourselves, our unique problems and the smallness of our own little world. Our Father is large and He is love and He has made us one. Love believes the best, hopes, anticipates, draws the beauty out of the most unusual places and faces.
There is very real evil at work in our world – violence upon innocent victims…but don’t allow fear to rob you of life and the joy of living. You have an eternal, invincible source of life and joy, which no one, nor any thing can take from you. So don’t live your life in suspicion, rather live with eyes wide open and heart ready to embrace. You have a capacity to love and believe, beyond your wildest dreams. You may not immediately see the results…maybe, like my mom, not even in your lifetime, but I guarantee you, if you love, it will continue beyond you.