It’s often hard to know how to reply to my clients who have experienced betrayals, abuse, people who have profoundly suffered at the hands of others.  Sometimes the best I can say is that forgiveness is possible, forgetting is not and remembering is what determines our own choices and right action.

Every once in a while there is someone who teaches us through example that forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling.

“In 1962 [Nelson Mandela] was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.”

“Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m), with a straw mat on which to sleep. Verbally and physically harassed by several white prison warders, the Rivonia Trial prisoners spent their days breaking rocks into gravel, until being reassigned in January 1965 to work in a lime quarry. Mandela was initially forbidden to wear sunglasses, and the glare from the lime permanently damaged his eyesight.”  Wikipedia

Mandela served 27 years in prison.

He wrote: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela

He is held in deep respect within South Africa, and has been described as “the father of the nation”.

One thought on “Forgiveness

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