Do you know who was Zoran Djindjic? He was the Prime Minister of Serbia. And he was assassinated on March 12th, 2003. Not a good time to die. With the world preoccupied with the war in Iraq, not many may have noticed his demise or understood its implications. Djindjic was Prime Minister since 2001. A recent article in Newsweek describes him thus:
“Consummately clever and full of energy and plans, Djindjic was the reformer who aimed to return his war- torn country to the European fold. He was a democrat, as well as the man who sent Milosevic and other Yugoslav leaders to the Hague (UN war-crimes tribunal). For both these reasons, many Serbs hated him.” (Newsweek, International Edition, March 24, 2003, 30)
Now Djindjic was no angel. He had to work with gangsters and the secret police to get rid of Milosevic. Later, when he had consolidated his power, he turned on the gangsters. That was probably what led to his death.
Though Djindjic was no angel, one could argue that his agenda was on the side of the angels. His death reminds us yet once again, that sometimes, your reward for trying to do the right thing is suffering, loss and death. You have to ask again, why bother? Why bother to try to do the right thing when often there is no assurance that you will succeed? Worse still, you or your loved ones may have to pay a heavy price. Why bother?
Why bother speaking up against tyrants and tyranny? Often, it doesn’t seem to do any good. And all you get for your trouble is imprisonment, torture or death. Why bother fighting for peace? It would seem that the powers that be have accepted that warfare is an acceptable way to effect national policies. Why bother preaching the gospel? Sometimes, it seems that no one is listening. Other times, you get arrested for trying to convert folks out of their religions. Or you get burned to death, like the Australian missionaries who were torched to death by Hindu extremists in India in 1999.
In big ways and small, doing the right thing often seems ineffectual. And may come with a very heavy price. Why bother indeed?
Lent is the perfect time to ponder such things. For Good Friday and Easter is our paradigm for life and faith.
Holy Week culminates with Good Friday. The Good Guy dies, helpless in the hands of evil. His cause a lost cause. The silence of Holy Saturday reinforces this sad fact. The bad guys win. The good guys lose. But the joyful explosion of Easter morning reveals the true picture. The Good Guy wins in the end. And in doing so He defeats sin, death, Satan, and evil. Light overcomes Darkness.
We need to put this truth before us always. Especially during the dark times when it seems dawn will never come. When evil appears to have won. We must never forget that it is Light and Love and Holiness who have the last say. So doing the right thing is never wasted. Even though at times we seem to fail. Even though at times we have to pay a terrible price to do so.
To live for God in a fallen world means we will always be misfits. And that we will always be swimming against the tide. But hang on. Don’t give up. For one day the tide will turn.
In Galatians, Paul tells us:
“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.” (Chapter 6:9) He also tells us: “Bear one another’s burdens…”(Chapter 6:2)
Do not give up. Bear one another’s burdens.
These are our watchwords for the day.
Your brother, SooInn