Sunday, July 18, 2010

199 - Lessons I Need to Learn

I know this is going up way late, but I was on the road Sunday to pick up #1. Since I really don’t want to rehash that trip publicly, I am going to share some thoughts on a subject that has been on my mind the past several days.

Last week, when Mr. Incredible was on vacation, we watched the movie “Invictus”. It is the story of how Nelson Mandela used the South African Rugby team to help unite a very broken nation. Two things I learned…

1 – I CANNOT believe how I lived in my own little bubble in the 80’s and 90’s. I watch movies like this or “Black Hawk Down” or “Through the Gate” (a movie about Rwanda) and struggle with how I could have possibly lived with these very major events going on and have very little knowledge on what was happening.

2 – Nelson Mandela has to be one of the greatest modern leaders. It sparked an interest in me to get to know more about the South African conflict and him. So off to the library I went.

I got his autobiography and the book Mandela’s Way – 15 lessons on Life, Love, and Courage. I finished Mandela’s Way last night. I am convinced that this man is one of the great leaders of our time. What made this book so amazing was not that these lessons are new, earth-shattering revelations, it is that this man who spent his whole life under apartheid, was sent to prison at age 44, lived in a cell that was so small he was unable to lay down stretched out, and came out at age 71 ready to put the past behind him and reconcile a nation, not by “getting back” at the enemy, but by working with them to bring about “one person, one vote.”

I will be honest here, I don’t know how you do that. We are studying Joseph in church and the story is very similar. Joseph, being a bit of a punk, is hated by his brothers and sold into slavery then imprisoned for 17 years. He emerges from prison to become the second most powerful man in Egypt and then is given the opportunity to “get back” at his brothers when they come to him for food. Instead, he forgives them and has them moved to Egypt where he can make sure they are treated well. I have paid attention and get that I am SUPPOSED to have this attitude of reconciliation. I get that I SHOULD be forgiving and give opportunities to rebuild trust. BUT, I just don’t know how that happens.

Back to my trip I don’t want to talk about. It involves people who have wronged me, but nothing near what Mandela or Joseph lived through…like not even close…like comparing a pinch on the arm to being run over by a train…so I am left with the question of how do I forgive, truly forgive? I know it is possible, I have studied two examples in depth now. I know that I am wrong to hold onto this. I have moved on in my life and most of the time I feel like I have forgiven, but then something so insignificant happens and all those old feelings of bitterness and anger come bubbling up to the surface. I defiantly do not extend the same grace to these people that I do others. So I guess I am leaving this post unfinished because I don’t have the answer. I guess this means I have more work, more growing up, more learning to do.


  1. Yeah in that sense I have a lot of growing up to do too. But we are human so we're going to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them and grow, that's important, right?

  2. God is so awesome ... I was sitting here reading this while reeling from an attack I didn't deserve, and your last paragraph just reached out and physically grabbed me! He can speak to us so clearly sometimes. Thanks for being willing to be His vessel, Brenda.