“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” —Paul Boese
Tony Compal tells a story about President Clinton first meeting with Nelson Mandela. In his conversation with this great leader of South Africa, the president said, “When you were released from prison, Mr. Mandela, I woke my daughter at three o’clock in the morning. I wanted her to see this historic event. As you marched from the cellblock across the yard to the gate of the prison, the camera focused in 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. What was that all about?”
Mandela answered, “I’m surprised that you saw that, and I regret that 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 an inner voice saying to me, `Nelson! For twenty-seven 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. Failure to forgive imprisons us. If Mandela can forgive so can you.