The unfolding enquiry into Haut de la
Garenne seems to have many strands. The desperate plight of the weak and
helpless is the one that causes anger to rise and demands justice - for them.
Then there is the realisation that the culture of half a century and more ago
towards the disciplining of children was very different.
Other strands are becoming prominent and
even submerging the careful investigations and march of justice. It seems that
revenge agendas, understandable in those who have been hurt, are taking
opportunity when it serves. And unconnected third parties may, wittingly or
unwittingly, be adopting a judicial and punishment role through "naming
It is these ancillary issues - revenge and
wielding justice without trial - that may yet be the most hurtful, whether to
perpetrators present or to alleged perpetrators past.
Interesting, then, that highly successful
King David, upwards of 3,000 years ago, should have such insight as to write
the single sentence above as part of a petition - a petition to "the
Lord". "The Lord" was used as a substitute for the name of
God because that name, YHWH, meaning "I AM WHO I AM", was too
holy to be articulated.
The petition is interesting because this
powerful King asked "the Lord" to confront his enemies. He asked
"the Lord" to bring them down. He asked for rescue "by your
sword, O Lord". And he asked for "your hand", the
hand of the "I AM", to save him.
Not for David the personal pursuit of his
enemies. When given opportunity, he did not use his sword against another man
(Saul) who was obsessed with the desire to kill David and had made several
attempts on his life. He wept inconsolably over the death of his own son,
Absalom, who had formed an army devoted to his, David's, overthrow and murder.
There's something in David's one request
(above) that explains his position. Do you see how he described the men who had
devoted themselves to his destruction? Yes: "men of this
world, whose reward is in this life."
King David saw what others did not see. His
vicious enemies were not to be touched by him - they had no reward beyond this
life. Only the Lord God Almighty had the authority and knowledge to deal them
righteously. And David knew that the Lord was well able to deal with them.
Many of us in Jersey
have enemies - and, often rightly but often wrongly too, they pursue us.
Perhaps their conduct also is strongly influenced by the fact that their only reward
is in this life.
"Jersey-2008-and-the-next-few-years" or even "Jersey-2035"
is "all there is", nothing else, the culture forms itself around that
ideology. And behaviour follows suit.
King David's greater descendant, Jesus of
Nazareth, by his teaching and by his rising from the dead (AD 33, Jerusalem), confirmed
that this life is not "all there is".
The obtaining at all costs of “reward” in
this life, in the absence of anything else beyond, is a major motivator. It
applies in Jersey in 2008. It applied within
the dark past of Haut de la Garenne. It has applied throughout the era of
humankind on earth.
So ... King David knew differently: reward
in this life is not "all there is". That radically altered his
behaviour. But does it alter us today - whether Christians or