Former President Clinton tells of his first meeting with Nelson Mandela. In his conversation with this leader of South Africa, the president said, “When you were released from prison Mr Mandela, I woke my daughter at 3 am. I wanted her to see this historic event. As you marched from the cell block across the yard to the gate of the prison, the camera focussed on your face. I have never seen such anger, and even hatred, in any man as was expressed on your face at that time. That’s not the Nelson Mandela I know today.”
Mandela answered, “I’m surprised you saw that, and I regret the cameras caught my anger. As I walked across the courtyard that day I thought to myself, ‘They’ve taken everything from you that matters. Your cause is dead. Your family is gone. Your friends have been killed. Now they’re releasing you, but there’s nothing left for you out there.’ And I hated them for what they had taken from me. Then I sensed a voice saying to me, ‘Nelson! For 27 years you were their prisoner, but you were always a free man! Don’t allow them to make you into a free man only to turn you into their prisoner!’”
An unforgiving spirit creates bitterness in our souls and imprisons our spirits. A failure to forgive imprisons us.
Father, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
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