Mandela broke through bonds of bitterness

December 6, 2013 

Nelson Mandela had plenty of reasons to be bitter had he chosen to use them.

He was jailed for 27 years because of his fight against the South African government's racial segregation policies of apartheid.

Mandela suffered because of a wrongheaded, oppressive policy. When the government relaxed its policies and freed Mandela in 1990, he could have sought revenge and incited violence.

Instead, he chose to work for racial unity and a peaceful end to apartheid. He went from prisoner to elected president of his nation in four years.

"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," he said. Also, "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

Mandela died on Thursday at age 95, but the example he lived can continue to inspire us all. His life is a reminder of what people can accomplish when they refuse to let old hurts, bitterness and the past, no matter how unfair, weigh them down.

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