By Robert Mrawa
One Saturday morning, as I waited to meet with my friend Edwin, I received a call from him just a few minutes past our appointment time; he would not make it for our meeting. On his way, Edwin got to a part of the city that was very chaotic; teargas filled the air and a bunch of the city council officers were arresting hawkers. At a distance Edwin saw a lady lying helplessly on the street as the city council officers brutally beat her. As these men battered the woman ceaselessly, Edwin stopped, gripped by the animosity. It was none of his business but his conscience would not allow him to ignore such cruelty. He gathered courage and walked up to the scene to stop the city council officers from hurting the woman any further. To his greater shock, the lady was expectant.
“Please stop beating and hurting this lady!” Edwin cried. “If there are any charges against her, please fol¬low the right procedure!” Suddenly, the government officials beating the poor woman turned on my friend Edwin; the strokes they had spared for the pregnant woman became his. They whacked him proper while asking who he was to tell them how to do their job. Edwin was arrested and charged for hawking and disrespecting the city council authorities. He was fined KES 10,000. He called friends to bail him out. Upon their arrival, the city council officers raised the bail to KES 20,000 without any reasonable explanation. When I heard this incident my heart ached at the fact that corruption, oppression and injustice is the order of the day in a sinful world.
Isaiah 1:17 says “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Who will encourage the oppressed and rebuke the oppressor, even when it hurts? Who will defend the cause of the fatherless, widows and needy amongst us? Have believers today ignored justice in our communities just because it hurts to do the right thing? Could there have been Christians that very Saturday who passed by the lady? Could the oppressive city council officers be the congregants in our pews every weekend? Statistics say that over 80% of the Kenyan population is Christian. However, corruption, oppression and injustice prove otherwise. This is what the Lord would say to us through His word:
Isaiah 58:3,6: “Why we have fasted, they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?’ Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”
Matthew 25:37-40: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothed you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
As I share the gospel, disciple and mentor young people at the Kenya Science Campus, I am challenged to impact them to be Christians not just by name but also by values and lifestyle like Christ. It is my desire and prayer to see God heal the broken-hearted and restore hope in our communities through these young men and women. I believe the promise in Isaiah 61:3-4 that says: “They will be called oaks of righteousness and God will display his splendour in their lives. That they will rebuild the ruined systems in this continent and restore places that have been devastated for generations with injustice, oppression and corruption.”
I pray that they (and you too) will be burdened and grieved by the evil and injustice that cripple our communities. I pray that you will be moved to do something about injustice when the opportunity arises, even if it hurts you. I pray that like Christ, we will die to self for the benefit of others. I pray that, like Edwin, we will be the heroes this world needs.