Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at age 95, was not just a towering figure in the political arena, but also a symbol of hope throughout the entire world.
As the Word of God says, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26 KJV), Nelson Mandela's life truly displayed the works that need to go along with faith. He spent 27 years in captivity for what he believed in. Additionally, Mandela truly displayed the compassion and grace of Christ by exercising great forgiveness and reconciliation. When he became the first Black South African President, he invited to his inauguration the regime members that imprisoned him some 28 years earlier.
Since learning about his death, I have asked myself some questions, "What do I stand for and believe in? As a Christian, "Am I willing to invest and sacrifice 27 days, let alone 27 years for what I believe?" "Do I have the commitment needed to represent our Lord and Savior righteously?
Many Christians can learn from the examples displayed in Nelson Mandela's life.
1) Forgiveness: After spending 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela forgave the powers that set him in captivity. This is truly an action that Christians can and should practice.
2) Humility: After serving only one term as president, he resigned when he could have stayed for several more terms.
3) Resiliency: Even though he was in prison, he kept working and believing in his cause, which was to stop the Apartheid. When we are faced with challenges, can we still press on and persevere?
4) Reconciliation: Mandela sought reconciliation by turning the other cheek. Upon his release, rather than starting an abrupt revolution in South Africa, he reconciled with his oppressors and came to a peaceful solution.
I could go on and on, but the point I am suggesting is that as Christians, we should be displaying the character of Christ in our everyday life. That means even when we are going through Hell; we should still represent Heaven through our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In closing, I leave you with a quote from Nelson Mandela and the final word of authority, The Holy Bible.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9 (KJV)
May his memory and legacy continue to inspire us as the Holy Spirit empowers us "to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God."