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Signing an agreement

Cross thoughts: Christian ideas seen in Sudanese every day life.

I am writing this on 30th August 2015, a few days after both warring parties in South Sudan have independently signed another ‘Peace Agreement’. Sadly, the news today reports each side blaming the other for more fighting that has broken out north of Malakal.

I am sure that you, like me, have signed important papers from time to time. Perhaps a marriage registration, a house purchase or rental agreement, your identity card or passport? Signing a document is very important legally. ‘To sign’ is “to write your name on something to show that you have written it, or that you agree with what is written on it”.[1]

Any person, low or high in rank, who later goes against things he or she has signed up to, is being very dishonourable. They show they are “not morally good nor are they deserving of any respect”.[2] Let us hope we may yet be able to respect those who signed last week![3]

When God was leading Joshua into the promised land, with the people of Israel, He said to him, “Do not let this book of the Law (the Ten Commandments and more) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”, Joshua 1:8. God always wants His people to live life the way that He has written it down for them. This is done by the ability God the Holy Spirit gives people. He transforms us more and more into the likeness of God the Son, Jesus Christ. We become holy the more we live to please Him.

We rightly get very disappointed, even angry, when our government and opposition leaders demonstrate that they are not people who keep to their words. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people”, (of whatever tribe or ethnicity they are), Proverbs 14:34.

God-pleasing people will always honour their promises. They will not hide behind war machines, or layers of officials, by blaming the other party, or a third party, in self-serving and trying to cover their own evil tracks. People who break their signed agreements are clearly not men or women who please God. In this life they may have power to make lives miserable for many less-influential (smaller?) people, BUT, in the life to come they will be made to account for these wrongdoings by the Almighty Creator God. They cannot bribe, threaten, trick, trap or deceive Him. He will judge them as their deeds deserve in His sight and by His own 100% righteous standards. I am glad I am not one of them!

As well as watching our national leaders, of course we must also examine our own lives. Do we think about the teachings of the Bible – what Moses was told in the Old Testament and what Jesus shared in the New Testament – and do we bring our own lives into line with the highest standards God has revealed there? Our Lord Jesus once said, as people were wanting to stone a lawbreaker to death, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”, John 8:7.

Loving enemies, forgiving those who have done you wrong, sharing hospitality with strangers, doing good things for those who hate you, blessing men and women who have cursed you – these things all challenge me, and perhaps you too? Think about this: God wants me to keep His written words even more than I want this Peace Agreement to hold.

[1] Macmillan School Dictionary (Macmillan Education: Oxford) 2004. [2] Ibid. [3] Riek Machar signed in Addis Ababa 17th August, Salva Kiir signed in Juba 26th August 2015.

September 2015.


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