Praying for the family and friends of Nelson Mandela, and for his country of South Africa, and giving thanks for the hope his example of reconciliation gives us.Some have said Mandela's 27 years in jail were a waste, suggesting that if had he been released earlier he would have had more time to weave his charm of forgiveness and reconciliation. I beg to differ.
He went to jail an angry young man, incensed by the miscarriage of justice in the travesty of the Rivonia Trial. He was no peace maker. After all, he had been MK commander and intended to overthrow apartheid by force.
The 27 years were absolutely crucial in his spiritual development. The suffering was the crucible that removed considerable dross, giving him empathy for his opponents. It helped to ennoble him, imbuing him with magnanimity difficult to gain in other ways. It gave him an authority and credibility that otherwise would have been difficult to attain. No one could challenge his credentials. He had proved his commitment and selflessness through what he had undergone. He had the authority and attractiveness that accompany vicarious suffering on behalf of
others – as with Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama.
Tutu: We thank God for Madiba, Mail&Guardian
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