Can a church truly unite a nation? Is it possible? The answer is a resounding yes! Committed individuals such as Graham Power and Angus Buchan are good examples of what is possible when one person is committed to establishing the heart of God in the world around him or her.
Second Corinthians 5:18 says that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation and that we must take it seriously. The Church has a great destiny and role to play in South Africa. The challenges are great, but the rewards are greater. The Church in South Africa has a number of obstacles to overcome in achieving reconciliation, but we are reaching our goal step by step.
The Abolition of Apartheid
The Church had its first great victory when the Apartheid regime was abolished, but the challenge of changing racist mindsets still remains. Power had a vision from God and started a movement called Transformation Day—a day of prayer for South Africa. In just a few years this movement spread around the world to become the Global Day of Prayer.
Thousands of people gathered in stadiums, repented of racism, and asked forgiveness of each other and of God.
Our nation was brought before God in prayer; indeed, it was a magnificent day of unity. Reconciliation began, but does not end, there. We must continue praying for change and living as examples to others. We must continue to love all people equally, regardless of race, colour, or background. We must exert godly influence so that all races can have equal opportunities in South Africa, and abolish the myth of “white power.”
Another challenge we are beginning to overcome in South Africa is interdenominational interaction. Instead of denominations feeling threatened by each other’s doctrines and practices, they can unite based upon the fundamental truths of God. The Church is and should remain a symbol of hope and reconciliation for everyone, believers and non-believers.
Denominations in South Africa have started to network with each other, sharing conferences and meetings, and opening their doors to each other. Individuals are becoming aware that they are responsible for their own relationship with the Lord and are taking ownership. Rather than arguing about theological differences, they are standing up for themselves and for the true power of the Holy Spirit and the word of God. This is what growth is about: sharing and learning from one another and from the word.
Unity makes us stronger, and when we share what we have with each other, everyone is blessed. This is a mature perspective. Ephesians 4:3 encourages us to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Now that we are beginning to understand the power of becoming one team—God’s team—we must take the blessings we receive and help those who are struggling, regardless of their belief.
Living with Integrity
The Church has, by nature of being an example, a role to play in influencing the justice system in South Africa. This is a great challenge and responsibility, because it means we can change the course of our nation and the course of history. The Church has the responsibility to promote what is right according to God’s word.
We need to educate and train every generation on the benefits of godly integrity and accountability. We have all seen the consequences of corruption and bribery: innocent people are victimized, the poor are exploited, power is abused, and wrongs are covered up. If it is left to deteriorate, revolutions will result. According to Deuteronomy 30:19-20, God gives us a choice:
I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey his voice, and that you may cling to him, for he is your life and the length of your days.
Is this how we want to live? For the sake of conscience and because God knows and sees all, we must do what is right even when the cost is dear. Living well means living right; Psalm 1 is very clear about that. The Church must promote godly values and principles in all areas of life, for all people, so that justice and justice only will be served. If we want to take pride in our nation, we need to take pride in self-respect and integrity first. We need to take pride in the word of God and live accordingly.
The Gift of Faith, Hope, and Love
Times may be hard, but the Church has one great advantage—faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13), because we have and know an Almighty God who loves us unconditionally. This is why we can have joy when we are struggling, hope when we are suffering, forgiveness when we are wronged, security in Christ when nothing else is certain. Our nation needs this great gift, and we have the power to give it if we ask God for help.
How do we give this gift? Every individual has been graced with different gifts according to God’s design and purpose, so each one must do what God has given him or her to do and train others to do the same.
Those who are called to be entrepreneurs should trust God for inspiration to start new businesses and create new employment opportunities. Those who work in politics and government must encourage godly values, use their influence to eliminate corruption, and implement better systems of accountability. They must educate the public on voting and encourage prayer for our leaders in government.
Those in education must ask God’s help and grace to raise up an innovative and hopeful generation that can discern what is truly important in life and work hard to accomplish their dreams. Those who work in the health sector can pray for breakthroughs in medical research and technology and pray for the gift of healing to be manifested wherever they work. The Church is meant to live out their gifts in the workplace, because that is where change is most necessary. There is so much to be done and it is all possible with the help of God!
Reconciliation is so much more than just reuniting individuals. There is power in unity—power with which to do something great. Everyone has a role to play, something to contribute to make our nation (and others) a more blessed and anointed place.
Find the gift God has given you and use it for his glory! The Church is full of individuals who carry greatness within them—the greatness of knowing that God is with them in whatever they do.
“Have I not commanded you Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9