Posted by George Morrison

When BBC TV4 screened “Endgame” last Monday it came with the citations of Bafta and Emmy awards but nothing could have prepared us for the gripping intensity of the drama that was to follow. The action takes place when civil war seemed inevitable in South Africa, between the Afrikaners and the African National Congress, over the inequalities of apartheid. Michael Young, the employee of a mining company, was pivotal in bringing together Professor Esterhuyse, an Afrikaner and Thabo Mbeki the ANC leader with their followers to the company’s Somerset mansion in the UK for secret talks. There was an understanding that those who supported the regime were as much victims of apartheid as anyone else. This was challenged by Mbeki and Professor Esterhuyse confessed, in a key exchange, “There is a deep rooted fear in us that we will be punished for all the terrible wrongs we have inflicted”. This marked the beginning of trust between them. The Bible would claim that all reconciliation must begin with confession of sin and St James adds “to one another”. The idea is to admit wrong to the one who has been wronged. Never an easy task as it makes the confessor vulnerable. The power to inflict hurt on the one who has made himself vulnerable is heady stuff. It is not easy to resist the desire for vengeance especially when the wrongs are of a continuing nature. But Mbeki was able to resist the temptation and negotiations replaced open conflict. But sin has always a Godward dimension as it is God’s laws that are being broken. The big difference is – there are not faults on both sides as in human conflicts. The remedy is no less hard. Reconciliation with God requires our admission of wrong and for God it was at the cost of His Son’s life. Sin always entails judgement. For the person who confesses their sin and trusts in Jesus who took the sinners judgement on the cross there is reconciliation, first with God then with his former enemy. It’s forgiven people who find it possible to forgive from the heart.