Submitted by Grenville Phillips II
Christmas is one birthday party where we celebrate as if we do not like the person, but attend to eat the food and meet our friends and relatives.
A birthday party normally celebrates the current age of the person. But not Jesus’. We seem too embarrassed by what He said as an adult. So, to feel a measure of control we try to keep Him in His place – as a baby in a manger. Perhaps this Christmas, we will respect Him enough to celebrate Him as He is.
THE PATH TO LIFE.
Jesus revealed how He would judge everyone at the end of the age, and he repeatedly explained what He requires. He claimed that many were on the easier broad road that leads to destruction because the narrow road to life was more difficult. He noted that people could choose the road to life, and then decide to leave and travel on the easier path – that leads to destruction. Nope, back in the manger for you.
Jesus repeatedly explained that forgiving others is critically important to where we will spend our after-life. We get on the narrow road by asking God to forgive us for the debts we owed. God promised to forgive us – but in the same manner that we later forgive others.
For the avoidance of doubt, Jesus explained that the Kingdom of heaven is like a king who was settling accounts with his servants. The king forgave a servant who could not afford pay his very large debt. That forgiven servant then had a fellow servant imprisoned because he could not afford to repay him a very small debt.
When the king became aware of this, he called the forgiven servant and treated him in the same manner he had treated his fellow servant – he promptly reversed his forgiveness of all the previously forgiven debt and imprisoned him. Jesus explained that we would be treated in the same manner if we did not forgive each other.
AN INDIVIDUAL CHOICE.
Everyone has harmed other people by our errors and omissions. It costs us nothing to ask God to forgive us, but the benefits are immeasurable. We are liberated from the guilt and burden of unforgiveness that limits our success, and negatively affects our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Once forgiven, each person must then decide whether they will make the difficult choice to forgive others and attract the benefits of forgiveness, or the easier choice to not forgive with the attendant negative effects.
THE BUSINESS OF UNFORGIVENESS.
Some have made a business of keeping people in a miserable unforgiven state, by deceiving them into thinking that forgiving others is too difficult an ask. The profits of that business tend to go to those who manage it by advocating policies that keep most in a state of hand-to-mouth subsistence poverty. The more miserable we are made to appear, the greater their profits.
If reparations are paid, the business ends and the profits will cease. Based on the consistent historical trend, what may be predicted with near certainty is that the masses who were kept in poverty to justify the business of unforgiveness, will not benefit in any meaningful way from either profits or reparations paid. How do we know this?
KEPT IN POVERTY.
When we became independent in 1966, the Government had control of the Crown lands. Did they give each family a plot of land as partial compensation of the debt owed to our enslaved foreparents? No. Instead, the Government told Barbadians to pay for it themselves. Thus, many Barbadians had no option but to enslave themselves to banks for most of their working lives with a residential mortgage.
Did the Government at least guarantee the loans to reduce the bank’s risk and interest rates? No. Instead, Barbadians were forced to pay both the high mortgage interest to the bank and punishing land taxes to the Government every year.
Given the uncertainties of maintaining a mortgage for 25 to 30 years in an island economy, did the Government at least try to manage the national economy well. No. Instead, they politicised our public services, gave corrupting no-bid contracts to their political supporters, and unnecessarily plunged Barbados in unsustainable debts – and every five years, they expected us to forgive them.
ADVOCATES OF UNFORGIVENESS.
Advocates of Barbadians pursuing the broad path of unforgiveness, should explain why each Barbadian family was not given a plot of land after 56 years of Independence, when it was in the Government’s power and ability to do so. Further, they should explain why we are forced to pay land tax on land which our enslaved foreparents already purchased for us with their lives’ work.
Advocates of unforgiveness should also explain what prevents the Government from simply giving any reparation payments received to their political supporters in the form of corrupting no-bid contracts? So far, they have been unwilling to have these difficult conversations.
In my opinion, dangling the hope of reparations before Barbadians, while pursuing economic policies to keep Barbadians in a subsistence poverty to justify reparations is cruel. Barbados does not need reparations – it simply needs better management.