The Work and Pensions Secretary couldn’t have been blunter. The nation, he said, had been ‘shaken to its core’ by the scale of the infected blood scandal laid bare in Sir Brian Langstaff’s report.

That ‘unlikely hero’, as one newspaper has described him, hasn’t pulled his punches. There may or may not be prosecutions in the coming days but whatever happens in that regard, many a reputation has already suffered from the toxic fallout.

As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said, the publication of the report signalled a ‘day of shame’. I agree. It is nothing short of scandalous that the victims have had to wait so long time for the truth to emerge.

Much has been made of the way the victims have been treated and rightly so. But the more I have reflected on their treatment the more I have been challenged by their resilience. Their suffering has been immense, and there must have been times when they thought they would never be given the recognition they so rightly deserve. But they kept on going and they have finally succeeded.

The New Testament uses a Greek word that describes their attitude very succinctly. It translates as ‘patient endurance’ and it points to our capacity to ‘hold out’ or to ‘bear up’ in the face of adversity. The word is used in the Book of Revelation for example where the apostle John shows us just how difficult, indeed how dangerous it could be a Christian in the latter half of the first century.  ‘’I am your brother’ he writes ‘in the suffering, the kingdom and the patient endurance that are ours in Christ Jesus’. John as we know had been exiled to the island of Patmos and Christians were being severely persecuted in parts of the Roman empire. 

So why didn’t they give up?  Why ‘hang on in there’? John tells us quite clearly. They believed Jesus would return to this world and when He did every form of persecution, indeed every expression of injustice would disappear, and they would live in a world shaped and controlled by God’s loving justice and peace.  ‘God will wipe away every tear’ he wrote, us because there will be no more death, or crying or pain.  Quite simply the old order of things (that is the current order of things) will pass away.

I am so glad this glaring injustice has finally been recognised for what it is, and the victims who have been so badly affected are finally being treated in the way they deserved to be. But I’m not so naïve as to think scandals like this will never happen again. Human nature suggests otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being cynical, but I think I am being realistic. There will be times when people will continue to lie and cover up the truth. They will procrastinate too, and this will not be the last time there will be ‘a lack of openness, inquiry, accountability and elements of downright deception’. Documents will be destroyed, and no doubt half-truths will be told.

But the truth cannot be concealed for ever and so we must take heart from those who have battled for so long and finally won the day. They are a powerful reminder that the day is coming when every form of injustice will vanish like the morning mist.