A real-life dilemma

December 20, 2004

HERE’S A REAL LIFE DILEMMA FROM ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, IN WHICH MIGHT DEFINES RIGHT. Last week we suggested that relativism, with its assumption that all perspectives are legitimate, undermines justice in the long run. ‘When we can no longer say whose ideas are right, the guy with the most votes, the biggest guns and the most power gets to decides what’s right,’ we wrote. In other words, might becomes right.

This can take subtle forms. Or patently blatant forms of intimidation.

A young woman-we’ll call her Natasha-works with a YWAM crisis pregnancy centre and carries leadership responsibility within our organisation in St Petersburg. Late last month, an elderly aunt asked her for help. A neighbour in her communal apartment building had threatened her. So, supported by two young Christian men, Natasha went to visit her aunt.

Her aunt explained that the man wanted to scare off the other apartment tenants and ‘privatise’ the place for himself. Natasha’s friends went to see the man. In the intense conversation which followed, the man told them he worked for the militia police. Four days later, Natasha and her two friends received an invitation to meet the man at a cafe to discuss the matter further. When they arrived, the militia arrested Natasha and her friends, handcuffed them and took to a militia station. They eventually let them go home, but the militia officers are now accusing Natasha of being an extortion ringleader, and that she had brought these two men with knives to the apartment in order to extort money from the policeman living there.

They threaten to sue Natasha for ‘extortion’, a charge that can earn you a fifteen years behind bars. In Russia, a police officer’s word carries huge weight. There are no witnesses to prove the charge, but it appears there is a group of corrupted police officers involved.

Natasha and her fellow staff have sent out a plea for prayer. In the natural they seem to be at the mercy of crooked law-enforcers. So they ask us to appeal to the Higher Court of the One Righteous Judge on their behalf. Let’s pray for the truth to be brought out into the open, that honest police officials would defend Natasha, and that justice indeed will reign in St Petersburg. Let’s pray that what the Adversary meant for evil, God will use for good and exalt Natasha and her work in the eyes of the officials.

Proverbs 19:5 says: ‘A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.’

Natasha works to save unborn lives. There is an Adversary at large in our world, also known as the Destroyer. He plays a not-so-nice role in the Christmas story too, as he instigates the power-obsessed Herod to massacre the innocent infants of Bethlehem. Yet God’s response to such brute force in this world was a vulnerable babe, in whose name we now have authority over this enemy.

As Mary sang in her Magnificat:
‘He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate.’
(Luke 1:51,52)

Romkje and I wish you an inner quiet this Christmas as you ponder the mystery of the Incarnation, God’s plan to overthrow injustice and exalt righteousness.

Till next year!

Jeff Fountain
p.s. We’ll let you know the results of your prayers for Natasha.

Till next week,

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