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OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: Let us forgive like Mandela

Reverend Errington Massiah

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Thy life was given for me, Thy blood, O Lord, was shed, That I might ransom’d be, and quicken’d from the dead; thy Life was given for me; what have I given Thee. – Hymn 259 A & M.
It was with great regret that we learnt of the death of Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa on Thursday, December 6, at 95.
Mandela, after 17 months of evading the authorities, was arrested on August 5, 1962 as he was being driven by Cecil Williams, a white theatre director and fellow activist.
On October 25, 1962, Mandela was sentenced to five years in prison. He served the first part of his sentence in the Pretoria jail before being transferred in May 1963 to the maximum security prison on Robben Island in the Atlantic Ocean, six miles (10km) off Cape Town. In 1964 he was charged with treason and was sentenced to life. 
He spent 27 years in prison, during which time he dedicated his life to the struggle of the African people and the world as a whole.
To me, Mandela was able to practise the great teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how to forgive, when our Lord said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”– something that many Christians do not do.
There are some people (Christians too) who hold persons in their minds even until death, and yet Mandela after he was released from prison and became the President of South Africa, was able to put forgiveness into operation. Mandela has taught us to forgive and let go.
We can learn from his life to rid ourselves of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.