Mandela: The Power of Forgiveness

I visited South African in 2000. It was 5 years after the end of Apartheid. I was amazed at how kindly whites treated me in the public square–at the market, in the stores, etc. I was particularly struck by the contrast with the US. After US slavery ended, shortly thereafter we experienced Jim Crow and the tone of the US was still colored by violence, bitterness, hatred and rampant discrimination. I asked a Colored woman of South Africa about what I observed. She confirmed that I was not imagining the reaction of Whites. She said, On the day that President Nelson Mandela took office, the first thing he did was forgive the Whites. Their greatest fear was that President Mandela insight violence as pay back on the Whites. His inauguration day was a day of forgiveness that set a new tone for the country.

What did I learn from that experience? I learned the power of forgiveness. If it can change the tone of a country racially oppressed and deeply divided for generations, what do you think that it can do in your life and situation? “Just asking.” Think about it.

I thank God for President Nelson Mandela, his life, leadership and godly wisdom. Greatness lives on. . .