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Vincent Uzomah was doing the job he loved and, for now at least, he cannot face going back to it. In June his life was abruptly changed when a 14 year-old student stabbed him in the stomach with a lengthy kitchen knife. Becoming cold all over, and beginning to fear for his life, he quickly made his way to reception praying over and over: “O God, don’t let me die.”
The student, for his part, exited the scene taking no thought for the teacher he had just wounded and instead took to Facebook writing a rather chilling post attracting 69 “likes” from his mates. So what would you do if you were in Mr Uzomah’s shoes? What would you do if someone tore up your life and then added insult to injury by bragging about it?
Would your statement read: “As a Christian, I have forgiven this boy who has inflicted this trauma and pain on to me and my family.” Frankly, it takes a lot to do that, but his courage didn’t actually stop there because he went on to say: “It was, however, important for the law to run its course …“.
Is taking someone to court compatible with forgiveness? Surely, you might say, we are to forgive and forget, to act like Jesus suggested and “turn the other cheek”, to “pray for those who mistreat us”. But should we think that law and love, that forgiveness and firmness, are not to be found as close companions?
Perhaps Mr Uzomah’s own prayer takes us to the sharpest, and most loving point of all: “Our prayer for him is that he will make use of the opportunities and support … to become a changed person.“