Forgiveness made all the difference

Forgiveness made all the difference 

This week we lost a hero – a man who couldn’t tolerate injustices and decided to make a difference.

Nelson Mandela began his political actions at the age of 24 and founded the ANC at age 33. He was imprisoned for 27 yrs for defending the non violent support of the black people in Africa. His life was devoid of all of the outside world in those years except occasional visits from his wife. While he was in prison he found out that his wife had been unfaithful and that his son had died.  Living through a diagnosis of tuberculosis in those years must have been a miraculous feat in itself.

At the age of  71 he began his political career again and at 75 yrs old he  received the Nobel Peace Prize.  At the age of  76 he became the first democratic president of South Africa.  By 83 he was travelling the world for his cause and became an honorary Canadian citizen. Although  Mandela said at age 89 that he was officially retiring from public life, he nevertheless went on to initiate “The Elders” focusing on peace building, securing the release of political prisoners, humanitarian relief and women’s rights. When he first became very ill, the world was not ready to ” let him go.” . Months later, he died – and the world mourns.

Nelson Mandela – A life well lived – a man who changed a world.

I find it quite amazing that a man who spent 27 years in prison could come out – now an older man – and then go on to lead the country that had so discriminated against him as a black man.  One needs to wonder where he developed the attitude that he wouldn’t come out with bitterness and hatred.

I would hope that I too, could be like this man. I guess we all have to wonder how after 27 yrs in prison he was able to put behind bitterness and hatred and continue on to make a difference in the world. Admirable but not that easy.

Learning to forgive is a life long learning experience. It is so hard to remember that forgiving someone does not change the offender but ourselves. Forgiving others is a gift we can give ourselves.  Our first instinct is to carry that hurt, coddle it and grow it so that it becomes a big part of us. Instead, with help, we can put that hurt in the big old garbage can and move on.

Nelson Mandela was able to do that.

That act of forgiveness was not only a gift to himself but to the world as a whole.

Thank you Nelson for deciding to forgive.
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About Terry Jago

Retired nurse manager interested in living my best life with natural and healthy living choices.
Aside | This entry was posted in Healthy LIving, Living life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Forgiveness made all the difference

  1. What a great way to honor him, in his passing. He was an absolute hero, and he never gave up!! Always stood for what he believed and never backed down! Every quote I’ve ever read from him, is such greatness!! Great article, and very well written!

  2. Dov Shapira says:

    I don’t think forgiveness can be learned,
    It takes a decision. Dat all

  3. 27 years in prison. And he harbored no bitterness. You’re right – forgiveness made all the difference. What if he had come out of prison an angry and bitter man? Whose lives would he have changed for the better? Great post. Thank you.

  4. What a great post and what a great man. I don’t think too many people could come out of prison without bitterness! I love your words, “Forgiving does not change the offender but it changes ourselves.” So, so true! Thank you!

    • jagoterry says:

      This is something I had to learn ! I mistakenly thought you could not forgive someone who did something VERY wrong.. but when i remembered that forgiveness is not condoning the act.. just letting go of what happened.. that was the key learning for me

  5. Loretta says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head… it’s important to allow yourself to forgive and release the offense. No one is perfect. Holding onto that bitterness of unforgiveness makes life miserable!

  6. kungphoo says:

    He was such a great man, to be able to put things behind him like that.. I can forgive, but can never forget.

  7. JoCasey says:

    He’s a beacon to all the great things we’re capable of as human beings. He’ll be missed but hopefully we can all learn to invoke our inner Madiba and forgive.

  8. Luzivone says:

    To forgive and forget are the hardest thing a human being can do for the ones that hurt so bad as they did with Nelson Mandela. It transcends the boundary of day by day human condition when faced with anything even closer what he went through. He did with grace and humility that help others to see the true meaning
    of life!

  9. Forgiveness is about you and no one else. You remain the victim until you are able to forgive. People confuse forgiving and forgetting. They are as different as apples and oranges!

  10. What a great tribute! Forgiveness is what breaks the chains that bind us to our own internal pain. Once you learn to forgive freedom replenishes you!

  11. Fina Wells says:

    My grandmother taught me the meaning of forgiving and forgetting. We must forgive in order to fully live our life as much as we can. You should not forget for that will help you in avoiding getting stuck in the same situation again.

  12. Jim Striegel says:

    He was an amazing man that will truly be missed.

  13. This is a great post. He certainly led a great life of purpose and yes the incredible and unselfish desire to forgive

  14. He is the man of this Century even thou we just started it!

  15. Sharon Rose says:

    Hello from Parents Want to Know 101, http://www.facebook.com/parentswanttoknow101! What a great way to honor Nelson Mandela, acknowledging the gift of forgiveness he bestowed upon his country. I read his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom. He had a quiet strength that moved a country. As you stated, it does all seem amazing! I enjoyed reading your blog and will come back again.

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