The Essence of Being Human

"Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."
The Words of Desmond Tutu

God Loves Us

"God does not give up on anyone, for God loved us from all eternity. God loves us now and God will always love us, all of us good and bad, forever and ever. His love will not let us go, for God's love for us, all of us, good and bad, is unchanging, is unchangeable. Someone has said there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, for God loves me perfectly already. And wonderfully, there is nothing I can do to make God love me less. God loves me as I am to help me become all that I have it in me to become, and when I realize the deep love God has for me, I will strive for love's sake to do what pleases my Lover."
No Future Without Forgiveness

An Authentic Christian Spirituality

"An authentic Christian spirituality is utterly subversive to any system that would treat a man or woman as anything less than a child of God. It has nothing to do with ideology or politics. Every praying Christian, every person who has an encounter with God, must have a passionate concern for his or her brother and sister, his or her neighbor. To treat anyone of these as if he were less than the child of God is to deny the validity of one's spiritual experience."
The Words of Desmond Tutu

Justice Will Prevail

"In a setting that claims we are made for alienation, separation, dividedness, hostility, and war, we must, as the church of God, proclaim that we are made for togetherness, for fellowship, for community, for oneness, for friendship, and peace. In a situation of injustice, oppression, and exploitation, we must proclaim that the justice and righteousness and equity of God will prevail. In a place where truth is a constant casualty, with many in high places taking loosely the demands of verity and truthfulness, we must declare that truth matters and that a people who have become immoral are in grave danger of collapse. In a situation where human life seems dirt cheap, with people being killed as easily as one swats a fly, we must proclaim that people matter and matter enormously, because they are created in the image of God. We must proclaim that apartheid must go and that a true dispensation will take its place, a dispensation where black and white will live together as members of one family, the human family, God's family."
The Words of Desmond Tutu

Peace Without Justice

"Stability and peace in our land will not come from the barrel of a gun, because peace without justice is an impossibility."
The Words of Desmond Tutu

God's Shalom

"There is no peace in South Africa. There is no peace because there is no justice. There can be no real peace and security until there is first justice enjoyed by all inhabitants of this beautiful land. The Bible knows nothing about peace without justice, for that would be crying 'peace, peace,' where there is no peace. God's Shalom, peace, involves inevitable righteousness, justice, wholesomeness, fullness of life, participation in decision making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion, sharing, and reconciliation."
The Words of Desmond Tutu


"If it weren't for faith, I would have given up long ago. I am certain lots of us would have been hate-filled and bitter. For me, the scriptures have become more and more thoroughly relevant to our situation. They speak of a God who, when you worship him, turns you around to be concerned for your neighbor. He does not tolerate a relationship with himself that excludes your neighbor."
The Words of Desmond Tutu

The Rainbow People of God

"At home in South Africa I have sometimes said in big meetings where you have black and white together: 'Raise your hands!' Then I've said, 'Move your hands,' and I've said, 'Look at your hands — different colors representing different people. You are the rainbow people of God.'

"And you remember the rainbow in the Bible is the sign of peace. The rainbow is the sign of prosperity. We want peace, prosperity and justice and we can have it when all the people of God, the rainbow people of God, work together."
The Rainbow People of God: The Making of a Peaceful Revolution

The Greatest Good

"Harmony, friendliness, community are great goods. Social harmony is for us the summum bonum — the greatest good. Anything that subverts, that undermines this sought-after good, is to be avoided like the plague. Anger, resentment, lust for revenge, even success through aggressive competitiveness, are corrosive of this good. To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. What dehumanizes you inexorably dehumanizes me. It gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them."
No Future Without Forgiveness

No Such Thing as a Totally Hopeless Case

"Dear Child of God, I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in our world will never end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now — in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. The most unlikely person, the most improbable situation — these are all 'transfigurable' — they can be turned into their glorious opposites. Indeed, God is transforming the world now — through us — because God loves us.

"This is not wishful thinking or groundless belief. It is m deep conviction, based on my reading of the Bible and of history. It is borne out not only in my experience in South Africa but also by many other visits to countries suffering oppression or in conflict. Our world is in the grips of a transformation that continues forward and backward in ways that lead to despair at times but ultimately redemption. While I write as a Christian, this transformation can be recognized and experienced by anyone, regardless of your faith and religion, and even if you practice no religion at all."
God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time