God’s word demands reparation
THE RECENT visit of Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron to Jamaica, and the visit of French President François Hollande to Haiti, as well as the visits by other dignitaries to the Caribbean has once again brought to the fore the issue and argument of reparations.
The Caribbean countries, which were very important to the agenda of the First-World nations, were abandoned because, at the end of the Cold War, they were not deemed strategically or geo-politically important to the developed countries - that is, the former slave masters.
However, the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and there is renewed 'interest' in the 'forgotten zones' because there is the realisation that Russia and China have vested interests in these areas.
While there is the debate on reparations, recognise that reparations is the same as restitution, which means compensation, payback, restoration for injustices and wrong deeds done to God or humanity.
Before we as a nation can speak about reparations, we must first make what was wrong right.
God does not forget what one generation did to others - good or bad. Likewise, many countries are going through turmoil (just like ours is) because of what the leadership or generation did previously without making amends.
It is critical for leaders to recognise that the success of this present generation has to do with reparations and restitution of the past generation. (Daniel 9:9-20.) Even Daniel - who was a politician - had to repent for the wickedness of the past generation.
Which leader will be bold enough to repent for the sins of the past generation and make right by paying back that which their nation or generation had robbed - whether money, land or other capital assets?
Jesus spoke about reparations. (Matthew 5:23-26). Without repentance/repatriations, change will not come.
Luke 19 shows us that Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector. He not only repented, but he executed reparations by giving back what he had stolen from the people. Are our businessmen, politicians and financial institutions ready to give back what has been stolen and repair the wrongs done by their forefathers and the generation before?
repentance part of reparation
Realise that open confession and repentance - which includes apologies - are also a part of the reparations/restitution process. The problem that now exists, especially with crime, violence and the economy, between the past and present is the result of leaders' refusal to bring restorative justice - which is also part of reparations.
Many times, people will be told to repent and they will ask, "Repent for what?" But what they don't know is that they will inherit the consequences of all the wrongs that previous administrations or generations have done.
So if we believe that God will forget what Britain, France, and Spain have done to nations such as those in the Caribbean; and what the Germans have done to the Jews; and what the white Americans have done to African-Americans, think again (I Samuel 15:1-9; Exodus 20:5; Jeremiah 32:18).
God always restores those who were once in slavery. Even the children of Israel - when they were coming out from Egyptian rule, slavery and oppression, He outlined that they should borrow gold, silver and various jewels and that none should leave empty-handed. He even stated that they should plunder their slave masters (Exodus 3:21-22; Exodus 12:25-36). So, when nations refuse to engage in repatriations, there are spiritual and physical consequences that nations go through and it sometimes leads them to an impoverished state.
Deuteronomy 15:13-15: "And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord your God has blessed you with, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today."
Independence without reparations makes no sense. God's word demands it! Reparations starts with individuals, and for us to truly be free, we first need to 'log on' to Jesus. Luke 4:18-19 outlines the purpose for which Jesus came. He even outlined in Joel 2 that He will restore to us the years we have suffered under slavery and oppression.
It is interesting, also, that one of the rights slaves had was to have their days of worship respected. Today, we are told we are free, but our days of worship are no longer respected.
Based on Ezekiel 33:14-16, let us begin, individually, the process of restitution and to make some wrongs we have done to others right.
- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.