Liam Neeson, you and the rest of us

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After Liam Neeson’s friend was raped by a black man, he admits that he:

‘went up and down the area with a cosh. Hoping…some black ******* would…have a go at me, so that I could kill him.’

Racism, like rape, is the ugly attack on human dignity, given by God to reflect his glory (Genesis 1:27).

Some have responded to Neeson with right condemnation. Others have praised his honesty to open the conversation. What should our response be?

Our Response

We certainly shouldn’t excuse Neeson. Nor should we self-righteously portray him as the ‘monster I could never be.’

With tears in our eyes, we nod in despair – not only at him, but at how his comments expose what the Bible says about him, about me, and about the rest of us.

‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways.’ Romans 3:15-16

Neeson’s racism meant he grabbed a cosh to murder; we are rightly horrified. But who, in anger, hasn’t grabbed a cosh of their own – whether racially motivated or otherwise?

Are we just as horrified that Jesus equates our own murderous hearts with Neeson’s? (Matthew 5:22)

Our Revenge

 ‘The way of peace they do not know’ (Romans 3:17). Neeson puts this in his own words.

‘I come from…Northern Ireland, and I understand that need for revenge. But it leads to more revenge and more killing.’

Neeson wanted revenge for the violence done to his friend. So he went looking for violence himself to get some twisted justice that only leads to more violence.

Praise God that there’s a better way.

God’s Remedy

The only justice that brings the peace Neeson craves is God’s justice. God’s judgment fell on Jesus instead of us for our hateful, racist and vengeful sin (John 1:29).

Christ bore God’s own justice for our hate crimes. And only the peace that this brings can melt away the sin of racism and murder, hiding away in our souls (Ephesians 2:14).

Only this peace can make way for an unconditional love for all people against which God’s grace will never – can never – discriminate.