Dealing with the Resentment That Hinders us…. A Lesson from Mandela

English: Nelson Mandela's prison cell on Robbe...

English: Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island Français : Cellule de Nelson Mandela, Robben Island Deutsch: Nelson Mandelas Gefängniszelle auf Robben Island Myanmasa: Robben Island (ရော်ဘင်ကျွန်း)ပေါ်ရှိ Nelson Mandela’s (နယ်လဆင် မန်ဒဲလား) ၏ထောင်အခန်း (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the Day:

 8  Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9  Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 10  For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. 11  Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 12  The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.1 Peter 3:8-12 (NLT)

738 Those who zealously keep a “list of grudges” show themselves to be very narrow-minded souls! Such poor wretches are impossible to live with. True charity neither keeps account of the necessary services it renders all the time, nor takes note of the effronteries it has to put up with. Omnia suffert—it endures all things.(1)

“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.”  (2)

A few movies, the one that comes to mind first is Invictus, Morgan Freeman portraying Nelson Mandela using sports – something other than politics, to unite a people too long divided.

Assuming the movies and the books are correct, the most remarkable thing he did was not to survive nearly 3 decades brutally imprisoned, or becoming the first black president of South Africa.  What is amazing to me is that he did it without (apparently) giving voice to the resentment that could have built up over those years. He didn’t take action and get revenge, something that he could have done, with the authority he wielded.   What is amazing to me is that healing that happened to Mandela’s soul, healing that enabled him to lead in a way that din’t bring a pendulum swing to the nations politics, but rather seems to have ushered in a journey towards justice and making things right.

It would seem to me, that this freedom from the burden of resentment, of a thirst not for revenge but for justice, is what makes this man remarkable.  It’s not something we do easily as humans, for our desire to hold onto our hurts and pain from being betrayed runs strong.  Think of movies – how many conquer evil by force as opposed to by allowing themselves to be martyred?  Think of the rush of… joy(?) we get when evil gets its due punishment, or our cries for justice for us, without thoguht of what it might cost others.  Somehow, the power that Mandela received was not used for evil, for revenge and satisfying a demand for retrinution.

Personally, I think this is due to his faith, which seems to have grown during his imprisonment. The model of Christ who didn’t have to put up with the constant questioning of his work, the beatings, the crucifixion. The man who brutalized his followers would become a leader among those followers.  His followers would face torture and death with the same kind of instinctive love, as they asked God not to hold sin against those who tormentented them.

This blog isn’t about praising those martyrs, or even Mandela.

It’s an invitation to know the freedom that they knew.  To get rif of the resentment you’ve build up over the years, to rid yourself of the thirst for revenge.  Realeased from that…evil, binding, crap, to find joy, to find joy even in serving those who previously treated us in an evil way.  That is healing. That is what St. Josemaria, another man hated and treated evilly by both those who oppose Christ and those who claim to follow him, is talking.

I invite you to share in it… I invite you to an altar where it is made real. As Christ would feed you His Body and Blood, given as promised to you, in order to prove that sin, all sin, is forgiven.

SO drop it there… your sin, the sin committed against you… and rise to know a peace that goes beyond anything you could ever expect, that you could ever explain.  Know Christ is with you, and all else… can be forgotten.

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3072-3076). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2)  Nelson Mandela – quote taken from:  http://pastors.com/20-quotes-from-nelson-mandela-a-leader-who-truly-changed-the-world/

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on December 7, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Pastor Dustin, I am dealing with this issue in my personal life at this very moment. I prayed this morning that God would hold me up and encourage me to deal with this. I have held onto resentment for the last 8 years to someone who dealt dishonestly with my family on a very personal level. I just received news this morning that she passed away last night due to a brain anurysum. With all honesty, my first reaction was…. “well, she got what she deserved!”. Immediately I felt the Spirit’s conviction and so I prayed. When I went to my email, this devotion was there. Thank you.

    • You are welcome Marti!

      Praying that your healing continues throughout this day and you blessed with His peace! Especially tomorrow as the Body andBLood of Jesus strengthen your confident dependence on His love!

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