Forgive Like Nelson Mandela
July 16, 2021
In 1963, Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years. He was initially kept at the Robben Island Prison for close to 17 years. During his incarceration there, the amount of humiliation and pain that he had to endure at the hands of the jailers was incredible. As a political prisoner, he was placed in the D-group — the lowest of four categories, with minimal privileges. Confined to a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet by 7 feet , with a straw mat on which to sleep, Nelson Mandela was physically harassed by several white prison wardens. When his mother and his eldest son died, he was also forbidden from attending either funeral.
Cut to the year 1990, and Nelson Mandela was eventually released from jail. In 1993, apartheid was abolished, and he became the first black president of South Africa. Nelson Mandela was so gracious that he invited the very jailors, who insulted and abused him during his incarceration, to a front seat view of the swearing-in ceremony.
When people around asked him how he could find this extraordinary capacity to forgive, Mandela said this.
” In 1990, as I walked out of the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Whenever anyone hurts us, it is very easy to get imprisoned by our own bitterness and anger, emotionally. The story of Nelson Mandela is a real-life reminder that true freedom is always in forgiving others.