A thought and prayer about land expropriation

Land is a sensitive and emotional issue in South Africa.  Many wrongs and sins were committed in the past.  Much land was stolen.  Many people carry deep scars from our history.

My thoughts on land expropriation:

True repentance always involves restitution (cf. Zacchaeus who paid back 4X what he had stolen).  If land was illegally taken, we as Christian people, should desire to see it returned or compensated for.

However, land expropriation without compensation, is theft (cf. Ten Commandments).

Land may have been acquired unethically in the past under e.g. the Nguni migration, colonization or Apartheid (although probably ethically and legally obtained by the current landowners), but this does not make it right to acquire it unethically again.

Two wrongs never make a right.  Nor will another wrong help to build our beautiful nation.

What we need is negotiation between the landowners (including government) and those dispossessed of land, an agreed compromise for the sake of justice, and a renewed commitment to generosity and nation-building by all.

Theft is not a solid foundation to build our future on.  Neither is a lack of concern for those dispossessed of land.

A suggested prayer for South Africa:

Almighty God, who rules over the nations of the world, and to whom all the land belongs.

We commend to your merciful care the people of this land, that being guided by your providence, we may dwell secure in your peace.

Grant to the President and to all in authority, wisdom to know your will and strength to walk in your ways.

As the issue of land is debated, fill them with the love of truth, the love of justice and the love of righteousness, that they may serve your people faithfully to your honour and glory; and bring them to your everlasting kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May a good, equitable, and lasting way forward be found.

Please give those who have much a deep concern and compassion for those who, despite their hard work, have little and have endured many years of hardship and difficulty.

Please give those who have little a deep care for those who have worked hard to own what they have.

In all our citizens, remove hatred and racism, grant love and respect.

Where many would breakdown and divide your beautiful country, would you build-up and unify – ultimately as we submit to King Jesus.

Help us, as Christians, to love all people, whatever language they may speak or culture they may come from.

May our generosity and other-person-centredness astound many and cause them to glorify you, our Father in Heaven.

 God bless South Africa;

Guard her children;

Guide her leaders;

And give her peace,

for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Amen.

(Prayer adapted from the Order of Service found at http://reachsa.org.za/morning-prayer-first-form/ )