A report in the June 1999 newsletter of the
Mennonite Church Peace and Justice Committee
in South Africa told of the trial of a
white police officer, a certain Mr van der
Broek, who was accused of complicity in the
murder of two black men some years before.
Facing the accused was a frail black lady,
seventy years of age, whose husband and
son had been murdered by the two accused
officers. The court established that Mr van der
Broek had come to the old lady’s home, taken
her son, shot him and burned his body while
he and his officers joked together. Several
years later, her husband had been taken
away by the same Mr van der Broek. The old
lady had then been taken to witness his brutal
killing by white police officers. After being
beaten and bound, he had been doused in
gasoline and set on fire. The report continues:
And now the woman stands in the courtroom
and listens to the confessions offered
by Mr van der Broek. A member of South
Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
turns to her and asks, ‘So, what do
you want? How should justice be done to

this man who has so brutally destroyed
your family?’
‘I want three things,’ begins the old woman
calmly, but confidently. ‘I want first to be
taken to the place where my husband’s
body was burned so that I can gather up
the dust and give his remains a decent burial.’
She pauses, then continues. ‘My husband
and son were my only family. I want, secondly,
therefore, for Mr van der Broek to
become my son. I would like for him to
come twice a month to the ghetto and
spend a day with me so that I can pour out
on him whatever love I still have remaining
within me. ‘And, finally,’ she says, ‘I want a
third thing. I would like Mr van der Broek to
know that I offer him my forgiveness because
Jesus Christ died to forgive. This
was also the wish of my husband. And so, I
would kindly ask someone to come to my
side and lead me across the courtroom so
that I can take Mr van der Broek in my
arms, embrace him and let him know that
he is truly forgiven.’
As the court assistants come to lead the
elderly woman across the room, Mr van der
Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just
heard, faints. And as he does, those in the
courtroom, friends, family, neighbours – all
victims of decades of oppression and injustice
– begin to sing, softly, but assuredly,
‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that
saved a wretch like me.’

“Can it be true” by Michael Wakely
(IVP 2002), page 207f.

Kategorien: thoughts

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