Saturday, January 2, 2010

On Nelson Mandela and radical forgiveness

I saw Invictus recently and was reminded of Nelson Mandela's radical forgiveness. Twenty-seven years in a prison for dissenting from apartheid and, when freed and elected President of South Africa, he moved himself and his country forward by forgiving and unifying. Radical forgiveness that was hard for anyone to understand but essential to healing.

Nearly three decades as a political prisoner, and look how Nelson Mandela turned out.

I don't think that we are the captains of our fate, but I do think we are the masters of our souls. We don't determine our circumstances or our outcomes. But we do decide how we respond and who we will be. Nelson Mandela chose forgiveness and compassion, despite the horrible circumstances that stole nearly a third of his life.

Dick Cheney, on the other hand, has spent nary a day in prison, more's the pity. Dick Cheney, a man of power and privilege, and look how he turned out. Mean, sour, angry, petty, vengeful...evil. A pathetic remnant of what once might have been a human being.

What's his excuse?

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