By Di Smith
Nelson Mandela’s recent birthday, which was celebrated throughout the world, gives us an opportunity to reflect on the leadership qualities that has made Madiba such a great man. He lives his life by the qualities of Ubuntu – he treats others with compassion, trust, unselfishness, and helpfulness. He treats others as he would like to be treated. He forgives. Reflecting on these qualities brought to mind the speech that Oprah Winfrey made recently at the University of the Free State.
Last Month Oprah Winfrey received an honorary doctorate in Education from the University of the Free State. In her thank you speech she referred to the incident at the University with the Reitz four and the decision of Vice-Chancellor Jonathan Jansen.
She describes the amazing grace and miracle that happened at the University of the Free State … “What happened here was a big move in the direction of opening the heart space to not just say, “I’m sorry,” because anybody can say “I’m sorry, but to be able to say, “I forgive you”.
This is the truth, if the workers here were able to do that after what was done to them, that makes it possible for you right now, who is holding a grudge against your sister-in-law, who is upset with your cousin, who is not talking to your best friend. If they were able to do that, on my God, what does that mean we can do? My favourite definition, which I learnt on the show, is: Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been different.” – O Magazine
Forgiveness is the Key to Freedom is the heading in Chapter 44 of the book "You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life" by Di Smith. The chapter begins with a quote by Catherine Ponder
When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.