Forgiveness and Reconciliation Can Heal Individuals and Nations

Forgiveness and Reconciliation Can Heal Individuals and Nations


The recent passing of the former South African leader, Nelson Mandela, has stirred many in our communities to stop and honor a man who had an influence on world thought by the manner in which he lived his life. My colleague Wendy Margolese of Ontario, Canada writes how Mandela lived the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation, qualities we can all strive to apply in our lives here in Southern California.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) built a nation on his insights into man’s higher nature.  After 27 years of enduring terrible conditions of incarceration, as he walked out of prison, the words on his lips were ones of forgiveness and reconciliation.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom,” he said, “I knew that if didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

The world is mourning the passing of a man who conquered bitterness and hate and brought healing not only to his country, but to individuals as well.

He brought freedom and forgiveness to a country where brutal repression had reigned. As the first democratic president of South Africa, Mandela worked tirelessly to dismantle the stigma of apartheid, cherishing the ideal of a democratic society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. He tempered revenge and bitterness in favour of the diplomacy of racial reconciliation.

To read the rest of Wendy’s article originally published on Canada’s click here.

About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. Evelyn Brookins says

    The most important thing we can do – and remember to turn the forgiveness on oneself as well. Nelson could have spent those years condemning himself as well. The blame game is detrimental to all who indulge it. One of my favorite sayings is: “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for someone else to die!”

  2. Belle says

    Thanks, Wendy…also reminded me that he read the Christian Science Monitor ONLY when he was imprisoned, which is why he visited the Christian Science Boston headquarters when he came to America.

  3. Wendy Margolese says

    Thank you for these comments and especially to Don for posting this article on his site. Much love and gratitude!