“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:7 (NIV)
Nelson Mandela was arguably the greatest global citizen, world leader, nation healer, humanitarian, and exemplar of Christ-like forgiveness, of the last half of the 20th century.
He chose to remain imprisoned until all of South Africa was free. He chose reconciliation when human nature called for retaliation. He chose generosity of spirit and warmth of heart over suspicion and bitterness. He chose Christ-like love over free flowing hate. Incarceration, instead of breaking him, ennobled him.
Borrowing a famous phrase from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Obama said this of Mandela: “…he took the moral arc of the universe in his hands and bent it toward justice.”
Truth be told, I can’t conceive of how Mandela grew so much as a person in such a prolonged a state of deprivation. He had to have been chosen for such a time as that. What a will, what a mind, what a heart, what a legacy.
Many want to change the world. Very few actually have or will. Madiba did, for our age and those to come. We are different people and a different people because of him. Thank God for Nelson Mandela and those like him.