is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of
disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Deuteronomy 32:35)
The public outcry for justice to be done to correct the callous, inhumane and wanton killings perpetrated by a group of senseless, blood-thirsty individuals during the course of the ungodly and tyrannical reign of dictator Yaya Jammeh, is well known and documented. This reign of terror has wrought so many atrocities culminating in shedding innocent blood. The details are gruesome and painful to bear, particularly by those who have lost loved-ones. However, ample light has been shed on what seemed buried, never to be retrieved.
People who have lost family members dear to their hearts, have I believe, found relief, amidst the shroud of uncertainties and doubts that have haunted them these past two decades. What has muzzled the conscience of this nation to stand up and speak out in the face of adversity is now a matter of the public domain. Yes, justifiably tempers have risen to explosive proportions at the scope and magnitude of such gross wickedness. But we must find comfort in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; that anything that is deliberately covered -- for whatever duration -- will be uncovered; every hidden deed will be revealed. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Matthew 10:2)
The confessions made on the open TRRC platform should provoke the start of a healing process for this nation. The gaping wounds and hurts manifest how we have transgressed God’s laws; one, for having kept silent for so long out of fear for our own safety and security; and two, for failing woefully to apply Jesus’ command ‘to be our brother’s keeper.’ Fear for our own lives has been a contributing factor that has stifled the collective conscience of the nation. Someone once said that, ‘Tyranny thrives when everyone keeps silent.’
We have with passive complicity encouraged vast human rights abuses in this land because we have not overtly decried, as a nation, our outrage at the disappearances, killings and the blatant misuse of Government resources for private ends. The few who were emboldened to challenge the system were not recognised for their bravery and that turned into a solo act of courage. Thus the devil used his agents – the junglers -- to continue the blood-letting programme before our very eyes as we cowered to safety. The devil feeds on blood and all those who worship him must endeavour to satisfy his appetite for not just any blood, but for human blood.
Ever since Adam and Eve our great ancestors sinned and were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, humanity has teamed with the devil to commit all kinds of atrocities without flapping an eyelid. We recall that Cain, the first born of Adam and Eve murdered his brother on the pretext that his brother’s sacrifice was accepted by God and not his.
At the scene of the murder there was no witness, yet one day God questioned Cain, “‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know he replied.’ God pursued: ‘What have you done? Listen your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground which opened to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” (Genesis 4:9-12) God Himself meted the most appropriate justice for Cain’s crime.
We observe from this account that human blood has the ability to speak because it is no ordinary blood. God did not take the murder of Abel (the very first murder on earth) lightly, and He cursed Cain. What is Cain’s reaction to the punishment? “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” But the Lord did not want him to die just yet until he had borne the full brunt of his wicked deed. Whoever had killed Cain would have done him a favour.
The Lord said to him, ‘Not so; if anyone kills Cain he will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.” (Genesis 4:13-15) Could there have been a worse punishment than to be a restless wanderer? Would have depriving Cain of his life been the solution? Cain himself objected to the punishment meted to him because he would rather have died than live this condition for any length of time. Let us leave justice to God, for He is a just God.
Physical punishment is more bearable than those that harp on your psyche. Our ancestors knew this a long time ago. In some countries when you murder someone, the cadaver is tied to you to accompany
you anywhere you go; until it becomes a psychological burden and regret and remorse set in. The consciousness of your wrong doing cannot be more traumatising, humiliating and demeaning.
In Old Testament days, it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Today, we live in the era of forgiveness – the kind that our Lord Jesus taught and preached. When we hold on to our hurts, we do more damage to ourselves than when we let go off them. This is not the time to bear grudge or nourish hatred; for only the devil will be pleased with such posture.
Paul in His epistle to the Ephesians urged: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
(Continuation next week)