“Free Yourself, Free Others, Serve Everyday.”
– Nelson Mandela –
July 18th… today is Nelson Mandela Day. A day to commemorate and pay respects to one of the world’s greatest leaders. Nelson Mandela taught us many lessons in leadership, yet none so great as the power of forgiveness.
. Forgiveness heals at the core and clears the heart to love those who have harmed us and those we care about. Reconciliation takes place when resentment, anger and revenge is released. . “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ― Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela along with Desmond Tutu and many others fostered tolerance which prevented the country from fragmenting over race and bitterness. “Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” ― Nelson Mandela
I was in high school the first time I heard about Apartheid. I was troubled that Nelson Mandela was in prison for protesting the discriminatory practices of Apartheid. At the time of my discovery he had been in prison about 20 years. Seven years later he was released and I was awestruck that his message to both Black and White South Africans was one of forgiveness and reconciliation. For real?!
27 years of captivity at the hands of your oppressor and your message after release was to forgive? My curiosity led me to a 6-month trip to South Africa 9 months after Mandela became President to study the political and financial effects of Apartheid. There are no words to describe the emotional impact of that trip as I met the framers of the South African Constitution and the leaders that kept the movement alive when Mandela was imprisoned.
The experience revealed that a main attribute of a great leader is his or her ability to forgive; which is more powerful than bitterness and hate. Martin Luther King said it best: “I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.” Thank you Mandela for showing us that if people want to transform the world around them, they need to forgive and unite others for a common purpose.
– Head of Global Solutions, Portland A Reed –
Disclaimer: As an independent organization we are expressing our opinion. We are not endorsing or supporting their political affiliations or beliefs.